Networking Arguments

Rhetoric, Transnational Feminism, and Public Policy Writing

Forcefully arguing that rhetorical networks have material effects on women's lives, Dingo's Networking Arguments intervenes in timely critical debates and develops new methods for transnational feminist rhetorical scholarship. Dingo's persistent critique of the liberal (and neoliberal) individual subject allows her to theorize the ways that social being and structures of power condition rhetorical expression. This critique opens the door for profound challenges to the notions of an autonomous rhetorical subject and a stable (spatially and temporally) rhetorical situation.
Bret Benjamin, University at Albany, SUNY
Winner of the 2012 W. Ross Winterowd Award

Networking Arguments presents an original study on the use and misuse of global institutional rhetoric and the effects of these practices on women, particularly in developing countries. Using a feminist lens, Rebecca Dingo views the complex networks that rhetoric flows through, globally and nationally, and how itÆs often reconfigured to work both for and against women and to maintain existing power structures.

To see how rhetorics travel, Dingo deconstructs the central terminology employed by global institutions—mainstreaming, fitness, and empowerment—and shows how their meanings shift depending on the contexts in which theyÆre used. She studies programs by the World Bank, the United Nations, and the United States, among others, to view the original policies, then follows the trail of their diffusion and manipulation and the ultimate consequences for individuals.

To analyze transnational rhetorical processes, Dingo builds a theoretical framework by employing concepts of transcoding, ideological traffic, and interarticulation to uncover the intricacies of power relationships at work within networks. She also views transnational capitalism, neoliberal economics, and neocolonial ideologies as primary determinants of policy and arguments over womenÆs roles in the global economy.

Networking Arguments offers a new method of feminist rhetorical analysis that allows for an increased understanding of global gender policies and encourages strategies to counteract the negative effects they can create.

about the author

Rebecca Dingo

Rebecca Dingo is an assistant professor in the Department of English and the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Missouri. She is the coeditor of The Megarhetorics of Global Development.

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Rebecca Dingo