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Networking Arguments

Networking Arguments: Rhetoric, Transnational Feminism, and Public Policy Writing

David Bartholomae
Jean Ferguson Carr
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  • Book Info
    Networking Arguments
    Book Description:

    Networking Argumentspresents an original study on the use and misuse of global institutional rhetoric and the effects of these practices on women, particularly in developing countries. Using a feminist lens, Rebecca Dingo views the complex networks that rhetoric flows through, globally and nationally, and how it's often reconfigured to work both for and against women and to maintain existing power structures.

    To see how rhetorics travel, Dingo deconstructs the central terminology employed by global institutions-mainstreaming, fitness, and empowerment-and shows how their meanings shift depending on the contexts in which they're used. She studies programs by the World Bank, the United Nations, and the United States, among others, to view the original policies, then follows the trail of their diffusion and manipulation and the ultimate consequences for individuals.

    To analyze transnational rhetorical processes, Dingo builds a theoretical framework by employing concepts of transcoding, ideological traffic, and interarticulation to uncover the intricacies of power relationships at work within networks. She also views transnational capitalism, neoliberal economics, and neocolonial ideologies as primary determinants of policy and arguments over women's roles in the global economy.

    Networking Argumentsoffers a new method of feminist rhetorical analysis that allows for an increased understanding of global gender policies and encourages strategies to counteract the negative effects they can create.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-7788-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Sociology

Table of Contents

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    (pp. 1-27)

    In 1995, delegates from 189 countries and territories and representatives from over 2,100 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) travelled to Beijing for the Fourth World Conference on Women. Focusing specifically on mainstreaming women’s needs into policy and development plans, this historic conference concentrated on the ways in which women’s equality related to human rights as well as on women’s ability to resist impoverishment, participate in public and private decision making, and influence media representations of women and girls. Participants took part in conversations and presented statements about women’s struggles for gender equality and poverty alleviation. These statements provided a way for women’s...

    (pp. 28-66)

    Transnational rhetorics of gender mainstreaming are born out of the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China (1995), and the conference’s international guiding document theBeijing Declaration and Platform for Action.¹ At its basic definition, theBeijing Declaration and Platform for Actiondefines gender mainstreaming as the act of policy writers and makers considering the differing effects of policies on men and women respectively before putting those policies into action. Yet, as I began to discuss in chapter 1, the document as a whole importantly reveals how gender mainstreaming policies mustconnectwomen’s local customs and circumstances to...

  3. 3 FITNESS
    (pp. 67-103)

    In this chapter, I trace the rhetorics of fitness between three texts, a World Bank promotional and informational pamphlet and the disability and development filmsFrom Exclusion to InclusionandA World Enabled,which I encountered at a single occasion (a two-day World Bank conference on disability in 2004). By performing a transnational feminist rhetorical analysis of these texts that networks ideologies across time, the past is made visible by unpacking the palimpsest discursive layers that support rhetorical terms and arguments. As presented in chapter 2, the Beijing Platform networked gender mainstreaming arguments to a variety of contexts, noting that...

    (pp. 104-143)

    The following discussion was reproduced in aWall Street Journalarticle published just after the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt, in 1994—the third decennial conference to address issues of population growth, fertility, and development particularly in the so-called Second and Third Worlds:

    “We have no term for ‘female empowerment,’” apologizes a woman who does French translations for the UN. . . .

    “Who is empowering whom?” asks a bewildered Chinese translator. “We can’t work it out,” he says. . . .

    “‘Female empowerment’ is such a vague terminology that I doubt it exists in any...

  5. AFTERWORD: Networking Arguments as a Writing Process for the New Millennium
    (pp. 144-154)

    Throughout this book I have demonstrated how feminist rhetoricians might track networked arguments to account for the impact of globalization and global neoliberalism on women. I have offered a transnational feminist rhetorical methodology that shifts current studies in feminist rhetorics from analyzing not only specific women’s (or groups of women’s) rhetorical acts to how networks of global institutions, supranational organizations, and nation-states shape women’s lives through policy arguments; these arguments often simultaneously draw upon historical pretexts and emerging ideologies about productivity in a global economy.Networking Argumentsalso shows how the dissemination of these arguments can constrain and enable women...