In their article, “A proposal for an invitational rhetoric”, Foss and Griffin have discussed on both traditional rhetorical theories and invitational rhetoric; their aim is to offer an understanding of the above approaches, (2). This paper will describe the authors’ arguments regarding the above mentioned theories.
Traditional rhetorical theories as defined by Foss and Griffin
Rhetoric is mainly referred to as persuasion, “traditional rhetoric theories occur within pre-imposed or preconceived frameworks, that are reflexive and reinforce the vocabularies and tenets of those frameworks,” (Foss and Griffin 13). In addition, these theories attempt to impose change on individuals by using persuasive means.
However, they do not ignore the audience but mainly focus on how speakers can persuade the listeners. Needless to say, traditional theories reflect a dominating nature of men as opposed to invitational rhetoric, which is based on feminist principles, such as equality, self determination, and evaluation of a person (Foss and Griffin 3).
Invitational rhetoric as defined by Foss and Griffin
Foss and Griffin argue that invitational rhetoric theory is mainly derived from a feminist point of view. However, they insist that feminists are not the only ones who have developed the theory’s rules (5). Invitational rhetoric refers to an invitation aimed at understanding, which fosters an equality-rooted relationship. Invitational rhetoric involves offering the audience to enter the rhetor’s world, to witnesses his/her practices.
As a result, invitational rhetoric theory can be described as a communication interaction between individuals with an aim of sharing perspectives through dialogue.
Invitational rhetoric theory is clearly based on communicative options and the external conditions which comprise value, and safety of a rhetor (Foss and Griffin 13). Needless to say, invitational rhetoric is driven by the principle of equality, which eliminates patriarchal bias, which is evident in traditional rhetoric theories
Opposing Foss and Griffin arguments
The authors’ arguments regarding invitational rhetoric are mainly based on women’s communication; as a result, a feminist paradigm is created. Invitational theory encourages women to utilize their efforts in advocating for transformation in systems of oppression (Foss and Griffin 16).
Another critique is the argument that invitational theory can be applicable in all situations; however, it is important to embrace different perspectives of other individuals, whereby individuals have the right to reject certain views if they are considered unacceptable.
The authors create confusion when they indicate that invitational rhetoric is optional, while at the same time, they insist that it should be used in all situations.
Another critique facing the Foss and Griffin article is the fact that they depend on gender, especially in their discussions concerning invitational rhetoric, which fosters the feminine style of communication. In addition, this article insists on the need for communication to be persuasive. As a result, it ignores other factors related to communication.
Despite the numerous critiques facing Foss and Griffin’s work, they have utilized the research of male scholars. In addition, the invitational theory aims at expanding communication options. Rhetoric is defined as persuasion; the authors believe that persuasion is necessary. However, they emphasize the use of options, especially in situations that do not require change and control.
Nevertheless, the invitational theories create an environment, which is built on value, safety and freedom principles. Invitational theories have proved to be effective; for instance, assisting in communication, scholars aim at developing models for co-operative and ethical communication.
Therefore, the main difference between traditional rhetoric theories and invitational rhetoric is that traditional rhetoric theories are gender biased, compared to invitational rhetoric, which is grounded on equality and value.
Foss, Sonja and Cindy Griffin. “Beyond Persuasion: A Proposal For an Invitational Rhetoric.” Communication Monographs, 62(1995): 2-18. Print