Theory/Criticism: A Functionalist Approach to the “Specific Intellectual” Work of Rhetorical Criticism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this essay, the author uses a functionalist perspective to explore the tension between theory and criticism within contemporary rhetorical criticism. Theory and criticism, he argues, exist as the suspension of distinct but mutually constitutive practices. When scholars consider “theory/criticism” in this manner, several functions become evident: theory/criticism organizes the vocabulary necessary to analyze contradictory rhetorical phenomena; it authorizes the value and legitimacy of critical practice, and it makes intervention possible in the lived spaces and structures of specific intellectuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalWestern Journal of Communication
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication

Cite this