Burke Exercise

In groups of 3-4, respond to the following:  

  1. Burke himself makes several pathetic appeals in this piece. Identify a passage or two where Burke uses charged language, for example, in this rhetorical analysis.
  2. Why does Burke say Mein Kampf cannot be simply dismissed as “irrational” even if it seems to us quite nuts? (p. 198-99)
  3. Like Brennan and Ahmed, Burke is describing a boundary-producing (or surfacing) process that consolidates an “us” and a “them.” Burke attends specifically to the psychic processes of surfacing: identification (“us”) and othering/scapegoating (“them”). Describe how Burke says Hitler goes about unifying an Aryan “us” and a Jewish “them.” What are some of the rhetorical moves Hitler makes that inspire such passionate unification of the loved and of the hated? Point us to passages in the text to support your responses. While you’re at it, be on the look out for evidence of “metonymic slides” and the “projection device” called scapegoating.
  4. Brennan’s hope is that if we can learn to discern the negative emotions we pick up from others, we’ll be able to detach from them and reconnect with the life forces of joy, love, and hope (and so stop getting sick from stress related diseases). Ahmed’s hope is that if we can learn to discern the ways that affective intensities stick bodies and signs together, establishing passionate us/them dichotomies, we might be able to intervene in ways that unstick them. What is Burke’s hope?