Political Vocabularies cover
Political Vocabularies
FDR, the Clergy Letters, and the Elements of Political Argument
Political Vocabularies: FDR, the Clergy Letters, and the Elements of Political Argument uses a set of letters sent to Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 by American clergymen to make a larger argument about the rhetorical processes of our national politics. At any given moment, national politics are constituted by competing political imaginaries, through which citizens understand and participate in politics. Different imaginaries locate political authority in different places, and so political authority is very much a site of dispute between differing political vocabularies. Opposing political vocabularies are grounded in opposing characterizations of the specific political moment, its central issues, and its citizens, for we cannot imagine a political community without populating it and giving it purpose. These issues and people are hierarchically ordered, which provides the imaginary with a sense of internal cohesion and which also is a central point of disputation between competing vocabularies in a specific epoch. Each vocabulary is grounded in a political tradition, read through our national myths, which authorize the visions of national identity and purpose and which contain significant deliberative aspects, for each vision of the nation impels distinct political imperatives. Such imaginaries are our political priorities in action. Taking one specific moment of political change, the author illuminates the larger processes of change, competition, and stability in national politics.
Publication Date: March 1st, 2018
270 pages| 6 in x 9 in
MARY E. STUCKEY is Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Pennsylvania State University, specializing in political and presidential rhetoric, political communication, and American Indian politics. She is the author, editor, or coeditor of twelve books and author or coauthor of roughly eighty essays and book chapters.

Early Praise

“In this important and timely book, Mary Stuckey explains how political realignments are both enabled and reflected in shifting political discourses that reimagine authority, recast identity, and reformulate public policy. Her compelling case study illuminates an important historical period and sheds light on our own. We may not always be able to predict political change, but scholars and citizens alike need to understand its dynamics and significance. Towards this end, this text is an indispensable resource.”
ROBERT ASEN, Professor of Rhetoric, Politics, and Culture, Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin–Madison, and author of Democracy,
Deliberation, and Education

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