Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 2007


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Communication and Rhetorical Studies


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Richard H. Thames

Committee Member

Calvin L. Troup

Committee Member

Kathleen Glenister Roberts


Advertising, Capitalism, Epideictic Rhetoric, Ethics, Jacques Ellul, James Twitchell, Kenneth Burke, Leo Spitzer, Michael Schudson, Ronald Barthes, Stuart Ewen, Walter Fisher


In the ancient sense, epideictic rhetoric was considered as a simple opposition to pragmatic discourse, which predominantly was involved with public business. Public business refers to the matters of the polis and the political setting. On the other hand, epideictic does not address to the political or deliberative situations. It addresses the celebrative situations of a community or a society in which values are created and commemorated.

Epideictic is also different from deliberative public discourse in means of approach toward to audience. Deliberative rhetoric asks audience to decide to take a course of action in a public/political business, whereas epideictic asks audience to observe about what is commendable in the speaker's logos--that is speculation or contemplation (theoria). Therefore, audience is to form ideas in response to the discourse presented, not to make a ruling.

Epideictic, in Ciceronian sense, also is a form of rhetoric that molds and encourages certain values, beliefs and presuppositions by which that society or culture lives and exists. It creates some fundamental grounds on which other forms of rhetoric may function. In this cultivation process, as a reinforcement discourse, it is possible to relate epideictic rhetoric to the ethical formation of one's communicative action in a community. In understanding of one's moral character and its relation to habituation and development of habits, epideictic appears to have a significant effect.

Therefore, one may argue that advertising appears to have a similar function as epideictic rhetoric in democratic and capitalistic societies when investigated as the totality of the marketplace practices of commercial communication and its ethical implications.