Bitzer's "The Rhetorical Situation"

Bitzer, Lloyd F. "The Rhetorical Situation." Philosophy and Rhetoric, vol. 1, no. 1, 1968, pp. 1-14.

Bitzer argues that rhetorical discourse arises from situations or contexts that call for rhetoric to make a change of some kind (4).  Bitzer argues that "rhetorical discourse comes into existence as a response to situation," and that situation is what grants "rhetorical significance" to the discourse (5). Bitzer claims that rhetorical situations must have "an actual or potential exigence" because without the possibility of change, an utterance is not rhetorical (6). Secondly, rhetorical situations have an audience who can effect change (8). Finally, rhetorical situations will always have constraints on what can be done (8).  Bitzer describes that rhetorical situations call for their particular and necessary responses in the context of "objective" reality, and that they vary in complexity and structure  (10-12). For Bitzer, rhetoric is about changing what exists in a knowable, observable, reality (14).

Genre, RhetoricKatie Ancheta