Entrepreneurial Culture in Transition-period China: A Rhetorical Critique

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Indiana University, Department of Communication and Culture, 2008 - Oral communication - 758 pages
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Informed by rhetorical studies, this study critically inventories the discursive fragments and political styles deployed by two private entrepreneurs in contemporary China who strove for social mobility, class status, and political clout through communicative as well as economic means. Structured around two case studies, it asks how a common pool of symbolic resources and their ideological import were appropriated differently by what I take to be representatives of two species of entrepreneurs---one heroic, authoritative, the other comic, "concoctive"---as they stylized their self presentations, rehearsed their motives, reshaped the social landscape, and reworked the political culture. I take the heroic style, which is defined by the near absence of unofficial symbolic materials, as culturally schizophrenic and politically regressive. The comic style, by contrast, tropologically tricks the "petrified narrow seriousness" of official discourse and recovers the multivocality repressed therein. It bespeaks the disposition for deep listening, maintains an ongoing dialogue with folk wisdom, and gives presence to vital cultural symbols. In a very fundamental sense, the comic style embodies constructive dissent and promotes democratic values.

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Guan and the Heroic Authoritative Style
Cartoon Picture of Guan His Fast Fish and His Rocket

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