1st Edition

Arguing Identity and Human Rights Among Rival Options

By Doug Cloud, Copyright 2024
    172 Pages
    by Routledge

    172 Pages
    by Routledge

    Arguing Identity and Human Rights poses open questions about how to best argue for human rights, to help us think through the advantages and trade-offs of different rhetorical strategies, identify rival options, and, ultimately, choose our own paths.

    Modeling a humane approach to human rights argument, this book offers four deep rhetorical analyses of some of the most vexing and fascinating challenges facing human rights arguers in the United States: How do we want to frame difference in human rights advocacy—are we trying to downplay difference or something else? How can we best answer dismissive responses to human rights arguments? Should we portray people in marginalized categories as having “no choice” about their identity, and what would alternatives look like? What are the possibilities and perils of trying to “afflict” audiences with hegemonic identities to persuade them on human rights issues? Offering clear practical and theoretical implications while resisting easy answers, the book provides a concise introduction to the relationship between identity, discourse, and social change.

    Designed for both theorists and practitioners, for current and aspiring human rights arguers, this insightful text will be of use to students of rhetoric, argumentation, persuasion, and communication studies more generally, as well as human rights, social activism and social change, political science, sociology, and race and gender studies.

    1. Introduction 2. Discourse, Identity and Social Change 3. The Difference Dilemma 4. The Agency Crossroads 5. The Cliché Challenge 6. The Affliction Gambit 7. A Rival for Contempt


    Doug Cloud is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Colorado State University, USA

    Doug Cloud has written a funny, personal, scholarly, and provocative exploration of the implications and consequences of imagining "human rights activism" in terms of choices and options we have in conversations.

    - Trisha Roberts-Miller, Professor Emeritus, Department of Rhetoric and Writing


    This is a ground-breaking introduction to the art of advocacy for students and activists—one that turns the discussion of human rights, identity, racism, gender, rhetoric, and education into a decision to take personal action. But how—in the face of aggressively competing intellectual, ideological, and political stances, each telling us what we "should do"? Instead, Arguing Identity and Human Rights invites the reader to think through the built-in "tensions" and potential outcomes a given choice involves as we shape our own approach to difference, agency, language, critique, or social change.

    - Linda Flower


    Cloud offers us a courageous, much-needed, and disarmingly personal guide to how we might think about our rhetorical options when we argue for human rights. Unlike other advice books on social justice advocacy, which tell readers what to think and what to do, Cloud trusts his readers to use their hearts and their brains to make strategic and humane rhetorical decisions that best fit them and their very human situations. This empowering book is for anyone who wants to take a truly rhetorical approach to arguing for equity and inclusion in a complex and complicated world.

    - Martin Camper, Director of the Center for the Humanities, Associate Professor of Writing, Loyola University Maryland, Author of Arguing over Texts: The Rhetoric of Interpretation