Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo


  • Richard T. G. Walsh
  • Michael Billig
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_270


The term “rhetoric” refers to the long established discipline of studying persuasion, both in its oral and written forms. Originally established in ancient Greece as the means for teaching public speaking, the study of rhetoric was one of the main bases of Western education until the nineteenth century. In recent decades, rhetoric has been revived and the work of the “new rhetoricians” is of relevance to critical psychologists for two reasons.

First, the new rhetoric has given rise to an interest in the persuasive techniques used in constructing scientific knowledge. When scientists write, they make conscious or unconscious choices about how to use language to make their case. As the art of persuasion, rhetoric is the literary pathway that any author necessarily employs to connect the logic of an argument with the vocabulary, grammar, and syntax used to express that argument. Rhetoric inescapably manifests itself in all scientific discourse, including the articles in this...

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Department of Social SciencesLoughborough UniversityLoughboroughUK