Do a rhetorical ideological analysis of the two ads to two different national audiences,
answer the following questions:
How is war being ideologically constructed in the ad and how does it attempt to create subject positions for
viewers/readers through the concepts mentioned above and Burkean identification techniques?
Follow the steps stated below, though you’ll focus on the Iraq war context and American public opinion for step
The rhetorical techniques and ideologies they circulate should be discussed with an American audience in view,
though you might note how those rhetorical techniques are short-circuited or weakened if the ad is transported to
another culture (pick any culture)
Consider this point as part of the analysis: melodrama is a narrative genre that has been used in various media
forms and is characterized by close-up shots, and narrative that personalizes and emotionalizes events and issues.
1. Introduce the topic: the ideology you’re studying in your texts. Consumerism; nationalism; Masculinity;
Femininity; Sexuality; Beauty; War, etc (pick one and do a little bit of outside research)
Then, you must use the tools of the class by looking at the narratives first. Start with Brannigan’s definition of
narrative: ?Narrative is a way of organising spatial and temporal data into a cause and effect chain of events
with a beginning, middle and end that embodies a judgement about the nature of the events as well as demonstrates
how it is possible to know, and hence to narrate, the events.?
2. Here you may wish to employ Burke’s pentad. Otherwise, start with Characters. Who are the characters? What do
we find them doing most of the time? What do they value (determined by what they look like, what they consume,
what they choose to do with their time, what they say about the world and specific topics)?
3. What kind of human qualities are celebrated or not by the narrative (this is usually implicit, not explicitly
4. What are the causal relations in the narrative(s)? What is the setting/are the settings? Does the setting drive
the action (cause it) of the characters, or are the characters seen to be autonomous individuals who can do
whatever they please in the world (it’s likely not to be completely the latter extreme)? Consider how humor is
used (if you think its important) in the narrative(s).
5. All of this should move toward a conclusion about what sort of subject positions are being offered to the
viewer by the narrative(s). Finally, are these narratives reinforcing/maintaining dominant ideologies/hegemony in
a particular society (or across several societies such as patriarchy, the political-economic-cultural rule by
men), or are they providing counter-narratives/counter-ideologies that challenge ones that are dominant. This last
question will require you to do minimal research on the ideology in a particular society with which you associate
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