The 258-page book, Divisive Discourse: The Extreme Rhetoric of Contemporary American Politics, by Joseph Zompetti was published January 2015. In the book, he discusses the extreme rhetoric that currently prevails in American political discourse and its subsequent effects on people to disengage and the political environment to become polarized. Zompetti shares insight into this toxic political environment, sheds light on the extreme rhetorical practices performed in US politics, and offers critical thinking skills for people to better participate despite this.
Below is an excerpt from the book and it can be purchased on Amazon here.
From the book…
Divisive Discourse challenges assumptions about political ideology. The book examines the techniques and contents of the divisive discourse that pervades contemporary American political conversation. It teaches us about extreme rhetoric, thus enabling readers to be more critical consumers of information.
The book provides a framework for identifying and interpreting extreme language. Readers learn about rhetorical fallacies and the strategies used by political pundits to manipulate and spin information.
In subsequent chapters the author examines and analyzes how divisive discourse is used in discussions of specific political issues including homosexual rights, gun control, and healthcare.
Divisive Discourse provides insight into how divisive discourse leads to societal fragmentation, and fosters apathy, confusion, animosity, and ignorance. By exposing the rhetoric of division and teaching readers how to confront it, the book reinvigorates the potential to participate in politics and serves as a guide for how to have civil discussions about controversial issues. Divisive Discourse is an ideal teaching tool for anyone interested in contemporary issues and courses in political science, media studies, or rhetoric.
About Joseph Zompetti
Dr. Zompetti is professor of communication at Illinois State University where he teaches courses in communication and social issues, classical rhetoric, and political communication. Dr. Zompetti’s research interests include the rhetoric of critical cultural studies and the rhetoric of civic engagement.