Rhetorical scholarship has significantly contributed to our understanding of the role of confrontation in engendering social and political change, but it traditionally over-emphasises its moral aspect, which results in the simplification of public issues and the radicalisation of identities. This article introduces a distinct form of political rhetoric and analyses the rhetorical conventions that constitute it. Drawing material from the anti-mining movement formed in the region of Halkidiki, Greece, the article proposes that disputatious rhetoric, through employing the techniques of parrēsia, melodrama and antithesis, proves pertinent to the articulation of dissent, the formation of collective subjects, and the projection of a counter-hegemonic discourse which challenges dominant neoliberal practices and discourses. Disputatious rhetoric, the article concludes, encodes the possibility of social and political change, not least because it impacts on the meaning attributed to actions and prevents the solidification of a single narrative or discourse as commonsensical.
- political change
- social movements