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Civic JazzAmerican Music and Kenneth Burke on the Art of Getting Along$
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Gregory Clark

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226218182

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226218359.001.0001

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A Rhetorical Aesthetic of Jazz

A Rhetorical Aesthetic of Jazz

(p.22) Two A Rhetorical Aesthetic of Jazz
Civic Jazz

Gregory Clark

University of Chicago Press

This chapter uses jazz to explain Kenneth Burke’s highly rhetorical conception of the arts that follows from both his theory of form and his redirection of rhetoric from persuasion to identification. For Burke, aesthetic form is a particular “way of experiencing” that, when diverse people share it, binds them together in awareness and attitude that affects each one’s present sense of self, of identity. Such rhetoric relies on experience as much as argument, experience that takes the form he described in Counter-Statement that moves people step-by–step to a new state of mind. Jazz music how illustrates this rhetoric of identification that binds people together by a shared experience of commitment to a common project. Such rhetoric can move individuals who differ or even conflict toward cooperation more successfully than argument might. While such shared experience does not demand agreement, it does align people in practical effort and purpose. The cooperative improvisation that makes jazz music provides differing people a way of interacting that enables them to bridge their separation, at least for the duration of their common task.

Keywords:   way of experiencing, identification, form, Kenneth Burke, cooperation, improvisation

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