Chapter 2 Advocacy

2.1 To-do list (Week 01)

  • Reading: Shulevitz, In College and Hiding from Scary Ideas

    • What does the author advocate for? Do you agree or disagree?
  • Reading: Aristotle, On Rhetoric Book I.

    • What is the difference between rhetoric and dialect?
    • What are the 3 methods of persuation? For social advocacy, which method of persuation do you think is more appropriate and useful? Why?
    • What are the 3 divisions of rhetoric? Explain their difference in your own words.
  • Think of a topic you’re passion about and are willing to do research for the next 3 months. (hint: We should do X because Y)

  • slides

2.1.1 Suggested videos and readings by topics

Now we wll go over some topics that could be of interest to you. Again, you shouldn’t just randomly pick a topic. Instead, pick something you are passionate about. If you are not sure, check this list first:

Note that the goal is not just picking an issue. But to think also about ethics, i.e. what do you think is right or wrong?

2.1.3 Additional resources on human rights.

2.1.4 Additional reading

2.2 What is advocacy?

  • Definition: The ideas behind social advocacy relate to social justice: that idea that there is value to the society as a whole when that society defends and upholds the rights of people in the community who are not afforded the same dignity due to disadvantage or discrimination. The themes may include:

    • civil rights
    • individual rights
    • community building
    • communication and awareness
    • human rights violations

2.2.1 Three aspects of social advocacy

  • Social change - working to influence educators and policymakers.
  • Problem solving processes - help and advise affected parties about the resources and strategies they can use to managing their ordeals.
  • Empowerment and liberation - encouraging people and their carers to take action to affect change.

source: dogooder.

2.2.2 Is there such a thing as social justice?

The above definition of social advocacy is predicated upon social justice. But not all people believe it is still relevant today. Watch this clip by PragerU on social justice and discuss.

  • For a different perspective, watch this clip by Tedx whether social justice is still relevant.

    • For the speaker, social justice is about a level playing field for everyone regardless of their background.
    • For a discussion about what justice means, here is a clip by CrashCourse. More on this later.

2.3 What is Rhetoric?

  • Rhetoric:

    • in-class writing: 5 mins
    • rhetoric vs. dialect
    • 3 methods of persuation; For social advocacy, which method of persuation do you think is more appropriate and useful? Why?
    • 3 divisions of rhetoric
  • How to use rhetoric to get what you want.

  • In previous videos, which method did the presenters rely upon? Do you find it effective? Why?

2.3.1 What are the topics that you would like to advocate for?

  • To be sure, the topic you pick shold be something that you are passionate about, which means most likely it will have some impact on you either directly or indirectly.

  • This step is extremely important not least because you will not be allowed to change your topic.

  • That said, it should also have social importance, i.e. not limited to students’ personal experience. Watch this video on Personal issues vs. social advocate.

2.4 Speech 1 rubrics

2.4.1 Discussion of Speech 1: Imagining Advocacy by Articulating the Problem

  • Goal: In this speech you must identify a problem that is worth advocating for. But this speech is limited to the characterization of the problem, the appreciation of its significance, and the effort to persuade your audience to take it seriously. Your goal is to inspire us, to turn our attention, to characterize in vivid language, to reveal, but not to get bogged down in facts and statistics or in solutions. Those elements will come in later speeches. Consider asking the following questions:

      1. How can I convince my audience that this is a real (and not merely pseudo) problem?
      1. How can I convince my audience that this is a problem that we should not live with?
      1. How can I convince my audience that out of all the problems that we should not live with, this one in particular is deserving of their attention?
      1. What is my relation to the problem and why does it stand out to me as relevant enough for me to advocate for?
      1. Can I turn my audience’s attention, focus their attention, inspire them to care and to feel sympathy, and invite them to consider action?

2.4.2 Discussion of Speech 1 (cont.): Content

  • The speech addresses a specific issue/problem or question. By the end of the speech the audience should have a clear idea of what the problem is. Specificity is important here.
  • The speech is not argumentative but inspirational and revelatory. Is your audience persuaded to take a side (they shouldn’t be), or are they inspired to learn more (they should be)?
  • The speech balances information/data and inspiration/imagination. Anecdotes, examples, figurative language, and imagined scenarios can sometimes convey the heart of a problem better than data and studies. This speech errs on the side of inspiration/imagination/figurative language/ drawing attention.
  • The speech characterizes the problem in moral terms (think of rights, duties, harm, happiness, justice, equality, fairness, honesty, patience, courage, generosity, etc.).
  • The speech expresses the speaker’s relation to the problem and what drew the speaker to it.
  • The speech acknowledges the complexity of the problem (avoids over-simplification and reductionism).

2.4.3 Discussion of Speech 1 (cont.): Formal/Structural/Presentation Considerations

  • The speaker speaks clearly by speaking at a reasonable pace and with reasonable volume. Pacing and volume are intentional and related to the topic, urgency, and audience (style).
  • The speaker may refer to an outline/notes but does not read the speech directly. The speaker makes eye contact and makes an effort to engage the audience by delivering the speech extemporaneously (familiarity).
  • The speaker uses appropriate body language and posture. (Try and avoid nervous and fidgety body language and include body language that expresses meaning and affects the audience) (self-control).
  • The speaker avoids extraneous language like “um, uh, like, you know, whatever” and other unnecessary fillers.
  • The speaker stays within the prescribed time limit (3.5-4 minutes).
  • The speaker turns in an outline for the speech.

2.5 To-do list (Week 2)

  • Reading: Bitzer, ``The Rhetorical Situation."

    • What are the three consituents of a rhetorical situation? Explain them in your own words.
  • Reading: Rachels, except from The Elements of Moral Philosophy

    • What are the arguments for both sides?
    • What do you learn from thinking about these arguments?

2.6 Rhetorical situation

2.7 Advocacy in the U.S.

Advocacy aims to change public opinion and social policy. Therefore, social advocates aim at both directly changing policy makers’ opinions and indirectly shaping the public’s.

  • Public opinion or Political opinion is the aggregate of individual attitudes or beliefs held by the adult population. Public opinion can also be defined as the complex collection of opinions of many different people and the sum of all their views.

2.7.1 Fundamental values

  • List fundamental values shared by all Americans
  • Identify contradictions within the list
  • Even when we agree on general elements, we can still support conflicting policies (using your topic as an example)

2.7.2 How public opinions are formed?

  • List the factors that shape an individual’s political opinion. Give a specific example of how specific agents influence an individual’s political knowledge.

  • Family: Most important shaper of basic attitudes Teaches basic political values & loyalty to particular political party

  • Schools

  • Peers: Limited in effect because of self-selection.

  • Mass Media: Effect difficult to measure but substantial.

    • Agenda Setting: Telling us what to think about
    • Framing: Tells us what to think about what is presented
  • Political leaders and institutions

  • Churches and Religion

  • Finally, events can also socialize.

2.7.3 Additional resources

2.7.4 In-class activity

  • Side A: “public opinion polling is inherently problematic and should not be used by government or politicians”

  • Side B: “polling is a valid way to determine the will of the people”

2.7.5 Let us try the civic tests

2.7.6 Interest groups

  • Definition: The term interest group refers to virtually any voluntary association that seeks to publicly promote and create advantages for its cause.

  • Types and examples.

    • Economic groups include trade associations, labor unions, and professional associations. Trade associations are organized commercial groups, ranging from industrial corporations to agricultural producers.
    • Professional associations represent people—who are generally well paid and highly educated—in a specific profession.
    • Public interest groups are defined as groups that form in the pursuit of “a collective good, the achievement of which will not selectively and materially benefit the membership or activists of the organization.”
    • Think tanks conduct research and often engage in advocacy on issues of public interest, often with a strong ideological viewpoint.
    • State- and local-level governmental units form interest groups that petition the federal authorities for help and to otherwise voice their concerns.
  • Check the interest groups listed on Vote Smart

  • Impromptu debate: does interest groups restrict/enhance individual participation?

2.7.7 Political Action Committees (PACs)

  • PACs are the political arm of interest groups. They are allowed to contribute funds to political parties and candidates for public office. The goal of these political contributions is to put candidates in office who support policies that the interest group favors and then influence how they act and vote.

  • Here is a graph of PACs’ contributions.

  • The Supreme Court declared limits on independent expenditures to be unconstitutional in 1976. Federal Election Campaign Law of 1974.

  • A new kind of PAC, the Super PAC. In 2010, the Supreme Court declared limits on campaign spending by corporations to be a violation of free speech rights. The case of Citizens United v. FEC.

  • As Philip Stern titled his book on PACs, Congress is “The best that money can buy.”

2.7.8 Inside and outside lobbying.

  • Inside lobbying refers to appeals directly to lawmakers and legislative staff either in meetings, by providing research and information, or by testifying at committee hearings.

    • To be influential, a lobbyist must be seen as trustworthy and must develop relationships with individuals who have influence in the relevant policy area.
    • Testifying allows an interest group to present its views in public and “on the record,” potentially raising its visibility and appealing to political actors. Although this is a more visible form of inside lobbying than privately meeting with a policy maker in an office or a restaurant, it is often considered window dressing. Most people who follow politics seriously feel it is not an effective tactic.
  • Outside lobbying (or grassroots lobbying), also known as indirect lobbying, is the attempt to influence decision makers indirectly, by influencing the public.