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Rhetoric''s open hand or dogma''s closed fist?: a new way of thinking policy-making

Marcelo Adrin Moriconi Bezerra
Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia – CIES-IUL
Marcelo Adrin Moriconi Bezerra
Centro de Investigação e Estudos de Sociologia – CIES-IUL
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Abstract

In modern conception, the correct way of thinking is guided by logic, and rhetoric is understood as a question of linguistic embellishment aimed at imposing a given opinion. This erroneous vision led to the oblivion of the political tools provided by rhetoric that help understand the nature of politics. But rhetoric emerges as a possibility to re-interpret democracy in a context of crisis and institutional de-legitimation. Rhetoric and good judgment incorporate theoretical notions such as skill, prudence, good sense, social responsibility, as well as the possibility to promote not merely a society of individuals, but rather a community of people. All of these questions have by and large gone unnoticed within the Political Theory realm, or rather when rhetoric appears in political theory literature, its understanding follows three general positions: 1) a platonic perspective which denies it and put rhetoric on a level with manipulation, 2) a republican perspective that reduces it to language strategies in order to win an agonist “war of word” (Skinner 1978); 3) a persuasive perspective which try to recover a Aristotelian legacy deliberative rhetoric (Garsten 2009). This paper aims to shows rhetoric’s potentialities from a Mediterranean wide perspective (Roiz 2003, 2008) and as a good way to re-think policy-making process keeping away the technical limited way of thinking which creates a so-called non-political and a-ideological narrative and understand politics as a need of dialectic creation of new and better procedural arrangement to improve efficient and efficacy (Moriconi 2009, 2010).