Greene, Ronald Walter. “Another Materialist Rhetoric.” Critical Studies in Mass Communication 15 (1998): 21-41. Print.
For Greene materialist rhetorics often try to account for the representational politics of symbolic communication, and in doing so he sees two distinct types of materialist rhetorics. The first follows the logic of influence model, meaning these materialists “focus on how the interests, often understood as a will to power, of a speaker are hidden, distorted or revealed by that speaker’s rhetorical choices” and emphasize “rhetoric’s role as a form of persuasion” (38). The second follows the constitutive model of rhetorical effectivity, meaning these materialists focus “on how the text functions to politically and aesthetically fignre the process of subjectivity” and emphasize “rhetoric as a form of identification” (38). Green’s version of materialist rhetoric (hence the title of the article) eschews this binary by offering up a logic of articulation as “a way to to map the multidimensional effectivity of rhetoric as a technology of deliberation” (39).The advantage of this logic of articulation over a logic of representation is:
a materialist rhetoric…that… replaces a hermeneutics of suspicion with a form of cartography that does not reduce the materiality of rhetorical practices to the interests of a “ruling class” at the same time as it maintains the irreducible difference between rhetoric and other material elements (technologies of power, production and the self in the creation of a governing apparatus. A materialist rhetoric built on the logics of articulation avoids positioning the historical forces of capitalism, white supremacy and/or patriarchy as the deep structure(s) of a governing apparatus but instead maps how they are transformed, displaced, deployed and/or challenged by a particular governing apparatus. In other words, the “macro-structures of power” exist less as hidden interests to be uncovered than as technologies distributed, activated and programmed by rhetorical practices for the purpose of policing a population. (39)
Greene also explains what he feels are the shortcomings of McGee’s fragmentation thesis (covered in McGee’s “Text, Context, and the Fragmentation of Culture,” which I read but did not post notes on) at various times throughout “Another…”, yet his most cogent criticism can be found on page 37:
McGee’s attempt to focus on fragments instead of texts does not escape these different models of rhetorical effectivity [mentioned above] as much as it ties both to a metonymic theory of representation that identifies a homology between the forms of rhetorical practices and culture writ large.
Overall, Greene’s model appears (to me at least) to combine Perleman’s ideas about rhetoric as probabilistic reasoning and Latour’s version of ANT.