Working-Class Rhetoric, Class Consciousness, and Community
DeGenaro , William
Scholars of rhetoric, composition, and communications analyze how discourse is used to construct working-class identities. The essays connect working-class identity to issues of race, gender, and sexuality, among others.
William DeGenaro is assistant professor of rhetoric and composition at the University of Michigan, Dearborn.
“Who Says? will go a long way toward raising awareness of the strategic use of language by working-class people: to create community, to construct gender roles, to create oppositional identities to the managerial class, to collectively speak out against oppressive working conditions, to speak the value of hard work, and to reflect and reinforce a host of cultural traditions. It reinforces the fact that working-class rhetoric is distinct from—rather than a deficit model of—middle-class and elite rhetorics.”—Jennifer Beech, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
”Impressive. The diversity of research approaches to social class itself is exemplary. . . . A welcome collection, one a long time coming.”—JAC
In Who Says?, scholars of rhetoric, composition, and communications seek to revise the elitist “rhetorical tradition” by analyzing diverse topics such as settlement house movements and hip-hop culture to uncover how communities use discourse to construct working-class identity. The contributors examine the language of workers at a concrete pour, depictions of long-haul truckers, a comic book series published by the CIO, the transgressive “fat” bodies of Roseanne and Anna Nicole Smith, and even reality television to provide rich insights into working-class rhetorics. The chapters identify working-class tropes and discursive strategies, and connect working-class identity to issues of race, gender, and sexuality. Using a variety of approaches including ethnography, research in historic archives, and analysis of case studies, Who Says? assembles an original and comprehensive collection that is accessible to both students and scholars of class studies and rhetoric.