Communicating Terror: The Rhetorical Dimensions of Terrorism

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SAGE Publications, Oct 15, 2009 - Social Science - 221 pages
1 Review

The only book to examine terrorism as a rhetorical act

This is an excellent text in furthering our understanding of the web of language and how it creates our mediated realities which reflect our culture, politics, religion, economics, etc. Students really like the case studies and how it complements the theory and practice of rhetoric. I think this book has applications for almost any course in communication.
J. Gregory Payne, Emerson College


Concise, succinct, and provocative, Communicating Terror, Second Edition explores multiple rhetorical dimensions of terrorism, connects terrorism to communication theories, and helps readers understand how this violence creates a public discourse for multiple target audiences.

Author Joseph S. Tuman uses fascinating case studies and examples as he explores both dissent terrorism and state terror and looks at terrorism from a communicative perspective. Presenting terrorism as a process of communication between terrorists and multiple audiences, this book examines a range of rhetorical components, including definitions and labels, symbolism in terrorism, the relationship between terror and the media, and public oratory about terrorism by both victims of terrorism and terrorists themselves.

New to the Second Edition

  • Includes three new chapters on public address and speeches concerning terrorism, symbols and targets of terror, and terrorism, rhetorical theory, and mass media.
  • Offers new examples, case studies, speeches, and topic coverage, including expanded coverage of the Internet and the War on Terror; new material on Iran, Cambodia, Rwanda, Hamas and Hezbollah, and dirty bombs
  • Provides expanded treatment of rhetoric and theory with a focus on ideological criticism, neo-classical criticism, dramatism, and media-centered terrorism
  • Examines diverse acts of terrorism not just 9/11 or the recent events in the Middle East to show the history and various usages of these acts as a medium for communication
  • Includes real case studies of terrorists and terror acts that make applying rhetorical theory practical and accessible

Intended Audience
Communicating Terror, Second Edition is ideal for use in a wide range of courses, including Media & Politics, Terrorism, Media & Society, Rhetorical Theory/Analysis/Criticism, Defense and National Security, and Political Communication.

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About the author (2009)

Joseph S. Tuman (J.D., University of California, Berkeley; B.A., political science, University of California, Berkeley) is Professor of Political and Legal Communications at San Francisco State University, where he regularly teaches upper-division courses in rhetoric and terrorism, political and legal communication, argumentation & advocacy, and technology and human communication. A past recipient of the Jacobus tenBroek Society Award for Teaching Excellence, Professor Tuman has also taught at the University of California, St. Mary’s College, the New School for Social esearch, and Paris II, the top law school in France. He is the author of Political Communication in American Campaigns(SAGE, ©2008) and the co-author of numerous books, including Freedom of Speech in the Marketplace of Ideas and of The Bedford/St. Martin's Guide to Public Speaking; he has also been the journal editor of Contemporary Argumentation & Debate: The Journal of the Cross Examination Debate Association. His work has been featured in news publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, and he has served as a network analyst for news programs on ABC, NBC, CNN and CNN International, FOX and the BBC. He currently appears as a regular political commentator for CBS in the western United States.

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