The New Work of Composing

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I Want to Talk to You

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What can we get from invitation that we lose in argument?

Scholarly argument and invitational rhetoric position conversants differently and attribute power differently. If we use Burke’s Parlor as our metaphor for argument, we see that argument takes time, occasionally significant time, as we observe and gauge the moment at which we are sanctioned to enter the conversation. We have to earn the power to speak.

Conversely, invitational rhetoric meets us where we are because the goal is engagement. We are each attributed power because we are human. The image below shows our understanding of how invitational rhetoric invites students into conversation regardless of their prior experience with the subject matter. There are multiple points of entry based on how the student, in this case, identifies with the conversation. (Image from Downer, Gresham, Kirkwood, & Reynolds, 2009)

not your mother’s argument: standing on shoulders