New publication in Rhetorica Scandinavica

We are happy to announce that Jens E. Kjeldsen’s article “The rhetoric of shame in the immigration debate” is published in  Rhetorica Scandinavica no. 79, 2019.

Abstract: The rhetoric of shame has become predominant inthe public sphere. This is especially the case in immigration debates. Here citizens express shame over the way their nation treats immigrants and refugees, or argue that others ought to be ashamed of themselves because of their treatment of foreigners. This article study the rhetorical use of shame and the reactions and counter argumentation to such appeals. I examine one month’s press coverage of the immigration debate in Denmark. Based on this I establish four forms of rhetorical shame and three forms of rhetorical reactions to the demand for shame. The four forms are: felt individual shame, ascribed individual shame, felt collective shame, and ascribed collective shame. The three forms of rhetorical reactions are: referring to established facts, counter attack on opponents tone and style, and populist accusation of elitism. My analysis suggests that the rhetorical use of shame in public debate is neither effective nor a beneficial to a good deliberative debate. My study also suggests that the use of shame as a rhetorical performative language game, may –over time – contribute to a rhetorical working through that influences our attitudes and acts in a beneficial way.

You can access the article at Rhetorica Scandinavicas website.