Competing Perspectives: Using Ethnographic Methods to Study Embodied and Emplaced Rhetorics

  • Aaron Hess
Part of the Rhetoric, Politics and Society book series (RPS)


Ethnographic methods can inform research into rhetorical scenes. Interviews, participant observation, and affective modes of knowing can illuminate inquiries into complex rhetorical moments. Audience interpretations and judgments can inform competing comprehensions of sites and statements, providing multiperspectival judgment about localized rhetorical performances. Moreover, with its commitment to advocacy, deliberation, and identification, rhetoric offers ethnographers a robust accounting discourse which is performed through language, body, media, and text. Hess offers his ethnographic fieldwork at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, during which he witnessed playful acts including taking selfies or playing hide-and-seek in the memorial. Through interviews, however, Hess learned of more complex judgment about the memorial that connected such “play” with personal remembrance and a living history of the Jewish people.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aaron Hess
    • 1
  1. 1.Arizona State UniversityPhoenixUSA

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