The new disability rhetoric: Chaim Perelman and the argument for justice in disability studies
This study examines the effects of the application of Chaim Perelman's theories of argument, rhetoric, and justice to the burgeoning field of disability studies. Perelman's most commonly-known text, The New Rhetoric, has drawn praise for the ambition demonstrated in its extensive analysis of the techniques of argument as well as criticism for being too narrow in scope - focusing only on technique at the expense other potential contributions to the field. Similarly, disability studies has been identified by some members of the academic community as merely another action group seeking self-serving ends rather than true contributions to the community as a whole. This dissertation explores ways in which Perelman's ideas and disability studies can be enriched through collaboration extending throughout academia as well as the general society. In particular, this study focuses on the concept of justice. The dissertation explores ways that efforts to promote social justice can be bolstered through the application of Perelman's argument theory to arguments presented by and on behalf of people with disabilities. Individual texts will be examined in light of specific argumentative concepts and techniques affecting the movement toward increased social justice.