Analysis Five: David Fleming’s Chapter 9 “Cities of Rhetoric”

In chapter 9 of David Fleming’s book “City of Rhetoric,”Fleming argues that if society wishes for there to be a world where people can partake in healthy discourse and local collaborations, a viable central commonplace must be designed in a way that allows this discourse and provides a safe and productive place to address representational issues (195-210). In doing this, Fleming asserts that this will be possible with the help of government resources in order to create this central place that is open and inclusive in dialogue. Additionally, places such as parks and education centers will be the recipients of these resources, as Fleming points out that places such as these are commonly seen in this light as places of discourse, and that the identity of a space is formed by the ideas that surround it. Because of this, government resources will find their way to these spaces, as it is necessary for a commonplace to receive compensation if it is to be an effective place of dialogue.

A single government, according to Fleming, can only be so effective in providing these spaces, and it is therefore important for “more powerful regional governments” be created in order to address this lack of commonplace (199). In response, these smaller regional governments would be able to more effectively this problem, and would have the funds readily available solely for the purpose of working to provide an effective space for discourse and dialogue (Fleming, 199). As a result, Fleming suggests that these commonplaces would give rise to the participating of education systems, as they could then adapt how it is that they teach rhetorical skill seeing as it is imperative that young people be educated on how to participate in public and societal discourse in a way that is effective (199).

In conclusion, Fleming feels that the only way to make a an inclusive and ever prosperous city, where civic discourse is commonplace and difference is welcomed, a space must be made available. Civic discourse, and “learning about one’s community” is the fundamental way generate this ideal city, therefore it is imperative that society feel that they have a place where this can occur, and where no  matter what, they have the power and freedom to represent themselves and others, and to truly be heard (207).


Works Cited:

Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America, SUNY Press, Albany, 2008.

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