Jens Elmelund Kjeldsen, Bergen & Södertörn University
In Scandinavia, there is remarkably little debate or discussion about rhetoric as a field of research, Jens E. Kjeldsen suggests. With this article, he initiates the discussion by taking his departure point in the demarcations of rhetoric created by the two Danish professors of Rhetoric, Jørgen Fafner and Christian Kock.
Jens Elmelund Kjeldsen (2011) remarks
Scandinavian rhetoricians often use the term “retorikken”, which is the definite form of the noun “rhetoric”. We use it to refer to “the rhetorical art”; in practical usage, however, the term often seems to carry an implicit normative and directive undertone, as if rhetoric is one voice stating indisputable things: “(the) rhetoric says that …”, or “in (the) rhetoric we always …”. We presume unity and seldom discuss in a scholarly way what the art of rhetoric is or should be – at least that was the case ten years ago, when I first published my article.
The genesis and substance of the text originated from my position as a PhD scholar at a media studies department, where I was working on a dissertation on visual rhetoric. It seemed that the research questions I tried to answer could not properly be addressed using the prevailing research paradigms. This situation has now changed, but hopefully my article still addresses some fundamental and perpetual issues in rhetorical research. Since the publication of the article, I have further developed my research in visual rhetoric in my dissertation Visuel retorik [Visual Rhetoric] and other publications. I have been working on political speechmaking and renewed my interest in theories of the rhetorical situation and the altered circumstances for contemporary rhetorical communication.
About this article
- Part of: Scandinavian Studies in Rhetoric. Rhetorica Scandinavica 1997-2010, Kjeldsen & Grue (eds.), Retorikförlaget Publishers 2011.
- Article pp 106–124
- Original Danish: “Skandinavisk retorikvidenskab“, Rhetorica Scandinavica 20 (2001).
About Jens Elmelund Kjeldsen
Jens E. Kjeldsen is Professor of Rhetoric and Visual Communication at University of Bergen (Norway) and Södertörn University (Stockholm, Sweden). His main interest is visual rhetoric and argumentation, political speechmaking and debate, as well as media rhetoric and presentation technology.