The Rhetoric of Interpretation: More than a Set of Techniques


  • Patricia A. Stokowski


Rhetoric, interpretation, communication theory, persuasion, visitors, recreation places.


This paper is a response to "Rhetoric and Interpretation: A Bridge in Dire Need of Repair" by Jeffrey B. Zeiger, which appeared in the Fall 1988 Journal of Park and Recreation Administration (6(3): 14-19). In that article, the author asserts that "techniques of rhetoric" should be applied to interpretation in an effort to achieve quality interpretive services. However, this conclusion fails to adequately distinguish the broad, encompassing concept of "rhetoric" from techniques of public speaking, and therefore is misleading in generalizing about the goals and effects of interpretive discourse. This paper proposes that most interpretive messages are, by nature, already rhetorical, and that rhetorical analyses of interpretive discourses can yield clues about how best to design and deliver potentially effective persuasive interpretive messages.





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