Corporate social responsibility (CSR) scholarship increasingly uses rhetorical theory as a method for analyzing contested meaning between communicants. However, the classical and social constructivist rhetorical theories typically used for analysis do not address the primary cause of contested meaning – relativism. Conversely, such theories often contribute to a dualistic worldview by utilizing internally imagined conceptual schemes for analyzing texts. This thesis proposes Thomas Kent’s paralogic rhetorical theory as an alternative method of analyzing CSR texts, and focuses on three common areas typically utilized in rhetorical analyses of CSR texts: text reception, the rhetorical situation, and genre. Where paradigmatic rhetorical theories typically describe rhetoric as an attempt to persuade an audience of meaning, Kent’s theory describes discourse as an interpretive process, where communicants attempt to produce universal meaning through rhetorical exchanges.
Date of publication
Anett Jessop, Hui Wu, Matthew Kelly
Master of Arts in English
Penner, Donald E., "Thomas Kent's Paralogic Rhetoric as a Framework for Analyzing Corporate Social Responsibility Discourse" (2020). English Department Theses. Paper 24.
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