Overcoming Walls of Division: Narrative as Empathetic Motivation

Bass, Elysse
January 2008
Conference Papers -- National Communication Association;2008, p1
Conference Paper
The current debate in the U.S. regarding the "illegal immigration problem" is comprised of multiple, complex, and juxtaposed contingencies. Each proposed "solution" asks an audience to accept a cultural and political identity for the immigrant that also entails acceptance of a cultural and political identity for themselves. The question that guides my paper is: what rhetorical strategy might provide grounds for agreement on a resolution? I argue that Richard Rorty's conception of "Sentimental Education," viewed as a narrative paradigm, can break down walls that the immigration debate builds within America and Americans. Narratives of empathy and sympathy offer a means for overcoming division between persons and a people. ..PAT.-Unpublished Manuscript


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