Fully Discovered Rhetoric

After reading the eight chapter of City of Rhetoric, finally I discovered why the book has the word Rhetoric in its title. David Fleming is not a sociologist or an urban developer he has an academic background teaching rhetoric. That’s why he wrote this book, even though certain elements of the categories mentioned before are present in the text. In the first paragraph of the chapter Fleming acknowledges how the book so far could be read as “a local history lesson or a seminar in urban sociology than an analysis of situated discourse practices” (179).  Basically, Fleming understands how a good portion of his readers could be reading this text and mentions how in the coming chapters he will concentrate
in the rhetoric part of his book.

Fleming proceeds to review some of the examples he has mentioned in the book and how they could appear to be completely different they have the same problems. For example, ghettos and suburbs both are marked by being “decentralized, fragmented and polarized”. They are the opposite of what Fleming calls “commonplaces”, places that are centralized, integrated and equitable (180). That type of place is the ideal to properly build public discourse. The problem with the other type is that some factors such as, isolation, fear and silence impede the inhabitants of proper public discourse. Also, it creates no human scale and all the problems that derive from it, “prejudice, mistrust and social alienation” (182).

In the previous chapters Fleming presents various places in Chicago that have certain characteristics like the ones “commonplaces” require. Even though he mentions this places not even one has was its needed to be consider fully a “commonplace”. Fleming is highly skeptic of this places because they don’t contain all the characteristics needed, “accessibility, density, diversity, publicity and sovereignty” (185). He remarks how the most important of those are accessibility and diversity. Both are necessary for effective public discourse; he mentions how in some parts of Europe there are places that have both requirements and how radically different the set ups are compared to the ones in the United States.

Fleming concentrates in this chapter to mold his arguments and relate them to rhetoric. All the examples he used previously are explained and contextualize for rhetoric purposes. I’m anxious to know what are the ways Fleming beliefs as a society we could bring opportunities to marginalized parts of cities.


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