American University College Writing 101 Spring 2017

RA 4: Fleming 3.8

In his book City of Rhetoricauthor David Fleming argues that our built environment is influenced by and influences the rhetoric surrounding it. Throughout the book and his research he shares different examples and his reasoning, but it’s in the final chapters where he ties it all together. In chapter 8, Fleming also raises two new questions: “What are the effects of these different kinds of social space on the ways we render and resolve conflict, on our attitudes toward public argument and our habits of political language?” and “Are there alternatives to these sociospatial arrangements that promise healthier interactions among us, better chances for our collective freedom, equality, and happiness?” (179-180). He says “the city, with its metropolitan area and internal districts, could be an anchoring social scene capable of helping us invigorate our political lives adn develop more centralized, integrated, and equitable public spheres” (180). It is here where Fleming again brings up his meaning of the word commonplace, and how they can “balance our often-conflicting needs for unity and diversity, accessibility and power, belonging and anonymity” (180). Fleming isn’t saying that all humans should live in cities and teach “rhetorical education” based on them, instead he argues that we should flock to our local commonplaces. They’ve been neglected, and because of that neglection we are growing farther and farther apart from each other. Here, Fleming brings home his argument that it is the rhetoric that causes groups of people to (metaphorically and physically) distance themselves from one another, and it is the distance that also causes the rhetoric to shift.

All these people living so close together, yet so far apart. http://0.tqn.com/d/usatravel/1/S/4/3/-/-/Manhattan_NY.jpg

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