Best Rhetoric in Claimsmaking

Rhetoric and Claimsmaking: How to shine the social control spotlight on whatever you want

  1. Claims-making (or the role of TV "news magazines" in changing norms)
    1. Norms change, but what is the motor of change?
      • Evolution/stages/development
      • Conflict
      • To which we add, entrepreneurial activity. How does this successfully occur?
    2. “Missing Children” coined circa 1981. Three related problems
      • runaways
      • child snactchings by non-custodial parents
      • abductions by strangers
    3. High profile cases around 1980. Apparent “rash” of events. Some organizations existed, primarily for the non-custodial parent cases. Media and government attention minimal. Not interesting phenomenon. Much more success when linked to abduction. Gave rise eventually to whole tradition of TV shows of traumatic case followed by rollcall at end of show.
    4. Process of successful claims making – how to get a moral panic rolling — what are component parts?
      1. Grounds – the basic facts which provide foundation for discussion
        • Definitions
        • Domain Statements – “discovery” (ADD, hyperkinesis, depression, PTSD, “do you …., then you may have …”). Definitions, setting of bounds, helping people to recognize it.
        • Orientation Statements – Including redefining problems as medical, say, or legal.
        • Examples
        • Estimating extent of problem
        • Incidence estimates
        • Growth estimates
        • Range claims
      2. Warrants – Statements that justify drawing conclusions from grounds (Selective list)
        • Blameless victims
        • Affiliated Evils
        • Deficient Policies
        • Historical Continuity
        • Rights and Freedoms
      3. Conclusions – calls for action – "what must be done" – best expert plans as to how to intervene – symbolic steps that are called for at once – what you all should demand
        • Awareness
        • Prevention
        • Social Control Policies
    5. Examples in our lifetimes
Date rape
Civil rights
Prayer in school
The new math
ADD etc.
Grade inflation
"Gateway" drugs
Morning after pill