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An analysis of the rhetoric of university transformation

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dc.contributor.author Blunt RJS en
dc.date.accessioned 2016-09-22T13:18:01Z
dc.date.available 2016-09-22T13:18:01Z
dc.date.created 1995 en
dc.date.submitted 1997 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11892/156929
dc.description.abstract This thesis examines the way the notion of university transformation is rhetorically constructed. In order to do so, it begins by analysingc, the concept "rhetoric", and then by analysing academic discourse and its contexts. Drawing from these analyses, a theoretical model is proposed for the rhetorical analysis of texts on university transformation, and this is then applied to texts from a particular university, the University of Port Elizabeth, which is in the throes of transformation, to examine the ways in which it articulates its transformation and to evaluate the theory. The subject of rhetoric is ancient, and the thesis begains by tracing its philosophy from its Classical origins through to modern times. It emerges that there are two distinct traditions: the Classical tradition in which the goals of rhetoric were to provide writers and speakers with techniques for invention, arrangement, style, memorisation and delivery; and New Rhetoric, which derided its Classical ancestry as prescriptive, and explored instead the ways in which language is used for making meaning,. The theoretical work on New Rhetoric has become multidisciplinary and has no orthodoxy, with the result that any extensive rhetorical analysis needs first to establish its theoretical foundation. A basic principle for the analysis of rhetoric is that text is always a function of context. Therefore, the first step in a rhetorical analysis of university transformation is to analyse the context of university discourse. The outcome of the analysis is that universities maintain certain tensions: between rationality and public opinion; between maintenance of the university as an organisation and its renewal; between knowledge for its own sake and its social relevance; between the accumulation of knowledge and its coherence; between academic disciplines as traditions and as creative enterprises; and between academic discourse as prescriptive and the creative construction of meaning. A theoretical model is proposed as a basis for rhetorical analysis, consisting of several simple propositions which eliminate from rhetoric its technical aspects, retaining the principle that rhetoric is the study of the creation of text as a function of author intention in relation to context. With respect to university transformation, there are essentially three contexts: the internal (cognitive) context in which the author constructs the text; the external (social, historical, political and institutional) context, which includes the audience; and the context of the academic disciplines. These contexts interact to constrain texts into their rhetorical form. The proposed theoretical model is evaluated in terms of Popper's criteria for good theory, and then tested in a case study. The case study comprises an analysis of six texts written by members of the University of Port Elizabeth. It emerges that the texts are rhetorically constructed to realise their authors' intentions in relation to context. The case study suggests that the proposed model for rhetorical analysis is generalisable, and that it succeeds in yielding significant insights into the nature of transformation at the University of Port Elizabeth and elsewhere. en
dc.language English en
dc.subject Education en
dc.subject Administration and management (at tertiary level) en
dc.title An analysis of the rhetoric of university transformation en
dc.type Doctoral degree en
dc.description.degree D ED en


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