The Rhetoric of Protests (Visual and Verbal Messages of the Protests)

Iglika Kassabova

Sheffield University – Bulgaria


Abstract: A major feature of the analysis impacts the rhetorical techniques used by creating powerful visual and verbal messages during the protests supporting the Central European University (CEU) in April 2017 in Budapest. Images as part of the visual rhetoric are considered as the main tools in the rhetorical persuasion in a virtual environment concerning the freedom to express feelings and ideas. The flexibility of online social networks as a suitable platform for developing persuasion techniques with regard to civil appeals is discussed, as well. The messages are classified based on the understanding of the classical rhetoricians that there are three basic means of persuasions – rational, emotional and ethical, and the manifestation of all three is analysed based on the visual and verbal messages in social media platforms and on the streets. The use of language and images as a symbolic means of inducing persuasion among the society is analysed by both informative and emotional aspects of the messages, as the second more inflammatory kind of messages are prefered by citizens and e-citizens passionately supporting causes. Some of the messages use humor, irony and sarcasm as rhetorical tools, others deal with comparisons, metaphors and exaggerations.

Keywords: rhetoric, protests, visual, virtual, verbal, rhetorical persuasion, rhetorical techniques.

Rhetoric and Communications E-journal, Issue 33, March 2018,,, ISSN 1314-4464

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