Quotidian rhetoric : an impasse of Deweyan aesthetics and affective encounters
My work is an exploration of quotidian rhetoric which I argue involves the examination of mundane experiential contexts of communicative exchanges among bodies and ecologies in a democracy. Instead of just focusing on language use which has traditionally been the realm of rhetoric, this study focuses on those extra-cognitive refrains, i.e. largely underexplored routines, habits, means, and bodily rhythms that affect and are affected by how we interact with the sentient processes of living. Such experiences range from but are not limited to ordinary conversations at a get together, the same old commute to work, a walk to a coffee shop, an unarticulated glance shared with a pet, a nervous darting of eyes in front of someone familiar, a punctuating nostalgic feeling about a past technology/gadget, a moment of intense attachment shared with a pet or plant or an uncertain moment shared between two strangers on a bus. The point behind quotidian rhetoric is that it champions an embodied attention to the cognitive and somatic/extra-cognitive encounters of communication in the democratic commonplace that I discuss under the respective frameworks of American pragmatist John Dewey’s work on aesthetic experience and affect theory. My work provides the communicative bridge to bring the diverse disciplines of affect studies and pragmatism in conversation since both fields return to the body to build sensate theories of everyday experiences. Through the study of quotidian rhetoric, I flesh out the rhetorical implications of somatic experiences underlying aesthetics and affects.