Contemplative Practices as Rhetorical Action for Democracy

Authors

  • Michelle Iten Virginia Military Institute

Keywords:

Civic Discourse, Democracy, Contemplative Practices

Abstract

While there is a general overlap between contemplative values for compassion, empathy, and awareness and democratic values for equality and human flourishing, relatively little scholarship has examined the specific ways in which the two might be connected (for important exceptions, see Hyde & LaPrad, 2015, and Mariotti, 2020). I argue that delineating the rhetorical facets of contemplative practices provides one angle of productive insight into how such practices can be seen as action for democracy.  I develop this argument from four vantage points: the context of classroom experience and scholarly conversations with which my argument intersects; an examination of resonances among rhetoric, democracy, and contemplative practices at the conceptual level; a description of three classroom contemplative practices that focus on equality; and an exploration of how contemplative practices can function as rhetorical statements of resistance to anti-democratic forces. I call for further scholarship to examine the connections between contemplative practices and democracy from multiple angles.

Author Biography

Michelle Iten, Virginia Military Institute

Michelle Iten in an assistant professor of English at Virginia Military Institute, where she teaches classes in writing, rhetorical history and theory, language and style, and civic discourse.

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Published

2020-12-31

Issue

Section

Articles