1st Edition

The Routledge Handbook of Rhetoric and Power

Edited By Nathan Crick Copyright 2025
    488 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This handbook represents the first comprehensive disciplinary investigation into the relationship between rhetoric and power as it is expressed in different aspects of society.

    Providing conceptual and empirical foundations for the study of the relationship between different forms of rhetorical expression and diverse structures, practices, habits, and networks of power, The Routledge Handbook of Rhetoric and Power is divided into six parts:

    • Theoretical Foundations
    • Propaganda, Politics, and the State
    • Resistance and Social Movements
    • Culture, Society, and Identity
    • Discourses of Technique and Organization
    • Prospects for the Future

    The guiding principle of this handbook is that power represents a capacity for coordinated action grounded in specific historical, technological, political, and economic conditions. It suggests that rhetoric is an art that adapts to these conditions and finds ways to transform, create, or undermine these capacities in other people through self-conscious persuasion. Featuring contributions from key scholars, this accessibly written handbook will be an indispensable resource for researchers and students in the fields of rhetoric, writing studies, communication studies, political communication, and social justice.

    1 Prolegomena to Future Inquiry into Rhetoric and Power 

    Nathan Crick 

    Part 1. Theoretical Foundations 

    2 Infraontology: Rhetoric, Insurgency, Abolition 

    Omedi Ochieng 

    3 Economic New Materialism and the Invention of Affective Possibilities 

    Catherine Chaput 

    4 Political Style, Formalism, and the Anthropocene 

    Robert Hariman 

    5 Abolitionist John Brown, Gun Clubs, and the Rhetoric of Physical Violence 

    Jay P. Childers 

    6 The Universe of Things: Power in a More than Human World 

    Kevin Michael DeLuca and Joshua Trey Barnett 

    7 The Rhetorical Analysis of Unconscious Forms of Persuasion 

    Michael Lane Bruner 

    Part 2. Propaganda, Politics, and the State 

    8 Culturally Sensitive Engagement: Enabling Citizen Deliberation in Transportation Needs 

    Rebecca M. Townsend and Mary Rosado 

    9 Rhetorical Criticism as the Art of Questioning What We Take for Granted: An Inquiry into the “American Dream” 

    Jeremy Engels, Tiara Good, John Minbiole, William Saas and Frank Stec 

    10 Moralizing an Electoral Crisis:  The Rhetoric of Moral Words in Ghana’s 2020 Election Dispute 

    Nancy Henaku 

    11 “This is Not Who We are as a Nation”: Theorizing Collective Identity in the US 

    Mary E. Stuckey 

    12 A Hestian Defense of the Oikos: The Authoritarian Mother Persona of Sarah Huckabee Sanders 

    Valerie Palmer-Mehta 

    Part 3. Resistance and Social Movements 

    13 Soup, Glue, and Art: Iconoclasm from Below in Just Stop Oil’s Use of Image Events 

    James Collins and Roberta Chevrette 

    14 The Power of Mutual Aid and Care Amy Pason 15 “How Can We Use This to Create Power?”: Revisiting the Rhetoric of Consciousness-Raising for Intersectional Solidarity 

    Dana L. Cloud 

    16 Meredith and the Monument: The Ecology of Memory at the University of Mississippi 

    Dave Tell 

    17 Body Rhetoric: Containing the Filthy Body of Irish Republicanism in Long Kesh Prison 

    Kate Siegfried 

    Part 4. Culture, Society, and Identity 

    18 Apocalyptic Rhetoric and Settler Power: Lessons for the End Times in Eruption 

    Santhosh Chandrashekar and Christina R. Foust 

    19 In Search of a Verb: An Affective Rhetorical Criticism of “The Hill We Climb” 

    Lee M. Pierce 

    20 Prophets, Presidents, and Democracy 

    Theon Edward Hill 

    21 The Bamboozle of the Funny: Conservative Comedic Counterfeit Resilience 

    Liz Sills 

    22 “Birmingham is Really on Mars”: White Innocence and A Good Conscience 

    Raquel M. Robvais 

    23 Collective Rewor(l)ding in the Wreckage of Hauntings and Haunting Situations 

    Romeo Garcia, Jenna Zan, Muath Qadous, Mitzi Ceballos, Keith L. McDonald and Sabit Bastakotia 

    Part 5. Discourses of Technique and Organization 

    24 AI Chatbots, Translative Rhetoric, and the Future of Public Discourse 

    G. Mitchell Reyes 

    25 Out of Time:  The Spectacular Temporalities of Border Crisis 

    Lisa A. Flores and Mikayla Torres 

    26 Drawing the Line: Independent Commissions as Deliberative Spaces for Citizen Driven Redistricting 

    Ron VonBurg and Marcus Paroske 

    27 Conflict Narratives of Competitive Victimhood: On the Storied Dis/Organization of Collective Action 

    Anna Wiederhold Wolfe 

    28 Material Forces in the Brain Sciences: A Neuro-Ontological Compliment to Neurorhetorics 

    David Gruber 

    Part 6. Prospects for the Future 

    29 Soy Porque Somos: Touring and Planting Trees as Convivial Rhetoric on a Precarious Planet 

    Kundai Chirindo and Phaedra C. Pezzullo 

    30 Chastened Humanism and Metabolic Transcendence 

    Ira Allen 

    31 Apocalypsis, Truth, and Cultural Anxiety 

    E. Johanna Hartelius 

    32 From Black Twitter to Musk’s X: A Case Study in Rhetoric, Media, Culture, and Power 

    Alisa Hardy, Matthew Salzano and Damien Smith Pfister 

    33 Rhetorical Powermapping: Converging Solidarities for Translocal Ecological Justice 

    Constance Gordon 

    34 On the Solidarity of Species: Cybernetics, Biopolitics, and the Future of Human Unity 

    Jeff Pruchnic


    Nathan Crick is a Professor in the Department of Communication at Texas A&M University, USA. His recent books include Rhetorical Public Speaking, 4th edition (Routledge, 2022) and The Rhetoric of Social Movements (Routledge, 2020).