Citizens and asylum seekers: emotional literacy, rhetorical leadership and human rights

Article


Dixon, Robert. 2002. "Citizens and asylum seekers: emotional literacy, rhetorical leadership and human rights." Cultural Studies Review. 8 (2), pp. 11-26.
Article Title

Citizens and asylum seekers: emotional literacy, rhetorical leadership and human rights

ERA Journal ID11451
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorDixon, Robert
Journal TitleCultural Studies Review
Journal Citation8 (2), pp. 11-26
Number of Pages16
Year2002
Place of PublicationMelbourne, Australia
ISSN1446-8123
1837-8692
Abstract

In this paper, I want to go back initially to some classical theories of rhetoric and moral philosophy to frame a series of questions about the Children Overboard affair and other, often highly emotive, media events in Australia, including Howard's response to the Stolen Generations. I want to propose the value of returning to the study of rhetoric and the emotions in political speech, and especially their connection with ethics, How do our leaders speak about such issues in public? Are the public statements of some politicians, as Judith Brett
suggests, 'emotionally inappropriate'?41f political rhetoric is constitutive of community values,
it seems important to ask what kinds of emotion are present--or deliberately absent-in the 'exchange of conversations that makes up Australian public life. What is the role of these emotions--or their absence-in shaping policy outcomes? How do politicians use rhetoric to constitute not only the way others are seen but also the way we feel about them? How, and to whose 'advantage', does rhetoric shape the way we feel about those whom it makes our others? What obligations do citizens owe to non-citizens? What are the emotional responsibilities of our leaders when they speak in public? What might it mean for political leaders to be emotionally 'literate'? In other words, what might constitute an emotionally and
ethically responsible form of civic eloquence?

Keywordspolitical rhetoric, Children Overboard, public speaking
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020440801. Australian government and politics
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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Humanities and Communication
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