Inspired by the Rhetoric Culture Project, this volume focuses on the use of imagery, narrative, and cultural schemes to deal with predicaments that arise during the course of life. The contributors explore how people muster their resources to understand and deal with emergencies such as illness, displacement, or genocide. In dealing with such circumstances, people can develop new rhetorical forms and, in the process, establish new cultural resources for succeeding generations. Several of the contributions show how rhetorical cultural forms can themselves create emergencies. The contributors bring expertise from a variety of disciplines, including anthropology and communications studies, underlining the volume's wider relevance as a reflection on the human condition.
Michael Carrithers is Professor of Anthropology at Durham University. He is author of a biography of the Buddha and of Why Humans Have Cultures (Oxford University Press, 1992). He has also written about Buddhist forest monks and of Jainism in India. At present he is researching rhetoric and public culture in East Germany.