Insights into the problem of our relation to language
Kenneth Burke and Contemporary European Thought: A Rhetoric in Transition reflects the present transitional nature of rhetoric and society. Its purpose is to relate the rhetorical theory of Burke to the theories of four major European philosophers—Jürgen Habermas, Ernesto Grassi, Foucault, and Jacques Derrida—as they discuss the nature of language and its central role in society.
This book describes a rhetorical world in transition but not a world in chaos. It points to the centrality of symbolism in theories of language and rhetoric and illustrates Burke’s influence as a pivotal things and theorist in the communication arts and sciences, suggesting that the observations regarding shifting paradigms and perspectives made by other scholars are indeed emergent in the realm of rhetoric. It also regards the powerful impact of language and symbolic action in both the critique and construction of human knowledge and augurs a central role for rhetoric in the intellectual and social transformations of this and the next century.