Myth, mystification, and the dialectic of the scapegoat: rhetorical transformations in Mumia Abu-Jamal's Live from death row Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Fifield, Jessica Kathelene
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Communication
  • This essay explores rhetorical transformations in Mumia Abu-Jamal's Live from Death Row that function to expose and contest social inequalities. Pentadic analysis is used to explicate the transformation of scene into agency and illuminate justice as both a motive term and a cultural myth. The essay extends Burke's argument that the establishment of a scapegoat represents one form of mystification, and examines how the dialectic of the scapegoat functions to demystify justice. By shifting justice from an ultimate term into the dialectic, Mumia challenges rhetorics of dehumanization that are (re)produced in discursive and ritual practices of legal, judicial, and penal institutions and transforms understandings of death penalty politics and practice.
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  • Blair, Carole
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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