Dissertation Absract




Sights, Sounds And Signs:

A Rhetorical Analysis Of Nondiscursive Artifacts


Deborah A.Wertanen



Degree:          Ph.D.

Year:             1997

Pages:            224

Institution:      Purdue University; 0183

Advisor:          Edward Schiappa


Source:           DAI, 58, no. 09A, (1997): 3366


This project analyzes the rhetorical dimensions of artifacts that do not include words. Most analyses of nondiscursive rhetorical artifacts are from the perspective of language and words, or assume the only meaning that can be created from nondiscursive artifacts is in combination with words. This word bias presents problems because when the lens for understanding nondiscursive artifacts uses mainly the terminology of verbal communication it places unwarranted limits on the concepts of communication and rhetoric. This analysis moves beyond seeing nondiscursive from the perspective of language and seeks to understand how meaning and rhetoric are aspects of music and visual art.

          For this study four different artifacts were analyzed, two works of visual art, and two selections of classical music. Various individuals were interviewed about their reactions to either the paintings or music. These responses were then compared to visual and musical techniques which might indicate those responses. The methodological approach to these texts is drawn from the work of the pragmatic semiotician Charles Sanders Peirce.

          The individuals who responded to the paintings or music described and provided conclusions about the meaning of the artifact based on information provided by the artifact, their individual experience, and culture. The rhetorical dimension of each artifact stems from this process of experiencing and describing the paintings or music as meaningful. Thus, the process of forming meaning--semiosis--works as a rhetorical dimension.





Accession No:     AAG9808536

Provider:        OCLC

Database:         Dissertations