Flemings City of Rhetoric: Reading Analysis 2

In his City of Rhetoric, “Commonplaces” David Fleming speaks on how crucial it is to have a shared social space that, “can link us to one another and the earth but where we remain free and unique as individuals.” (34). Prior to this, Fleming argued the persistence of space and how it can shape our own experiences and form who we are. This can be relatively linked to how we commonly share these experiences; in other words, our commonplaces. Fleming puts it that we must have a public sphere where, “individuals can share a world and experiences that allows them to manage that world in freedom.” (34). Basing off this, it is evident that Fleming believes that a commonplace must surround individuals with shared values, experiences, and even ways of culture. A sense of sharing these beliefs forms a well-rounded commonplace within a society. However, these shared values must have a “defining” feature to them which makes them such a commonplace. In definition, a commonplace is something that is commonly found; so this can correlate to how these commonplaces are formed. In the words of Fleming, “it requires spaces, whereas Arendt put it, we can meet without falling over one another; and it requires borders that define who we are, that constitute our equality by setting limits to it.” (35).

As Fleming states the basis of commonplaces, he also notes that this is something that is lacking in our postmodern political philosophies. He believes that these political foundations have “failed to provide this kind of public for us.” (35). Even in the multicultural world we live in today, we still need spaces that focus on three key aspects: grounded, unitary, and official. The first being grounded, meaning that we need a real or reliable space that reflect our “intellectual, ideological, and emotional needs”. (35) This is on the basis of being able to handle and support our particular needs so to speak. Second would be unitary which speaks on having a feeling of belonging within a space. The basis of unitary is key in order to have a well-functioning commonplace. Finally, the term official plays a role in stating how we are bound to these commonplaces based on the grounded and unitary. (35).

Works Cited

Fleming, David. “Commonplace.” The City of Rhetoric. N.p.: n.p., 2008. 32-35. Print.

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