131 KENNETH BURKE AND THE METHOD OF DRAMATISM MICHAEL A. OVERINGTON It is possible that sociologists have read the work of Kenneth Burke and found it neither important nor interesting, a One searches in vain for any expository treatment of his work in those journals read by sociologists, or indeed, for any expository treatment of the sociological importance of Burke in other journals. Yet Burke has been lurking in sociologists’ footnotes since the 1930s, and recently his system, “Dramatism,” has been promoted to equal rank with “Symbolic Interaction” and “Social Exchange” in the coverage given to these aspects of “Interaction” in the InternationalEneyelopedia of the Social Scienees. ~ What are we to make of this? Certainly Kenneth Burke has never regarded himself as a sociologist. Moreover, his wanderings through academia have usually put him in contact with critics, rhetoricians, and philosophers, rather than sociologists. Burke has never been able, therefore, to develop a group of students through his teaching and research supervision who would be able and willing to present the position of their maftre before a broader sociological audience. Yet, the fact that Burke himself is the author of the IESS article on “Dramatism” does give some pause. Was there no other person capable of presenting this systematic position? After some forty years, is dramatism so intimately tied up with Burke as to make it his system? Is it, then, merely a brilliantly inventive set of insights held in systemic place by the idiosyncracies of Burke’s own mind? Clearly, Louis Wirth did not think so in 1938 when he said of Burke’s Permanence and Change (1965) that “It contains more sound substance than any text on social psychology with which the reviewer is familiar.” But in his caution that “There is much in this treatise that will appear unsystematic and irrelevant to those accustomed to a less personal and poetic mode of discourse, ”3 one may find a plausible answer. The full corpus of Burke’s work is Department of Sociology, Saint Mary’s University, Canada 132 broader than the social psychological thrust of this volume, but an idiosyncratic style does characterize all his work and has surely proven to be a major stumbling block for sociologically trained readers. Although Wayne Booth is a little strong when he says, “Among anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, and rhetoricians his ‘dramatism’ is increasingly recognized as something that must at least appear in one’s index, whether one has troubled to understand him or not, ”4 it is long since time for a sociologically interested exposition of Burke’s work to be presented to a broad sociological audience, so as to hasten an informed recognition. The challenge here is to respect Burke’s stylistic m~tier, which is an integral part of his work, while offering a translation of his systematic writings that makes sense to sociologists. Carving a clear presentation of dramatism from Burke’s immense oeuvre is made easier by his practice of using major volumes to collect, summarize, and organize his more fragmentary material, which runs to some seventeen pages in the most complete checklist of his writings, s Yet even when reduced to his eight major volumes (1957; 1959; 1965; 1966; 1968a; 1969a; 1969b; 1970), the task might still prove unmanageable unless some clear distinction were to be drawn between dramatism as a method for analyzing human relationships (which is the way Burke elected to present his system in IESS), and the substantive contributions that Burke has made to a sociological understanding of human relationships by applying this “method.” In principle, dramatism is a method that is applicable by anyone trained in its usage, and it should be allowed to stand or fall as an analytic methodology quite independent of the substantive conclusions about human conduct that Burke draws from his own usage of the method. For the sake of clarity, therefore, this present essay will restrict itself to an exposition of the problematic and logic of inquiry of dramatism as a method. A companion piece provides a reconstruction of Burke’s substantive position. 6 In the IESS article, the most sociologically pertinent summary of dramatism as a method, Burke defines the system as follows: a method of analysis and a corresponding critique of terminology designed to show that the most direct route to the study of human relations and human motives is via a methodical inquiry into cycles or clusters of terms and their functions. 7 Yet in contrast to this definition of his enterprise as an analysis of the terms implicated in the analysis of action, he offers another stipulation of dramatism “in a wider sense [as] any study of human relations in terms of ‘action’…” Although in this wider sense, Burke certainly includes the early 133 work of Parsons, and perhaps the writings of Weber, Simmel, Schutz, Mead and other theorists of social action, Abraham Kaplan has clarified the ambiguity in these two definitions: Burke explicitly declares his concern to be with the analysis of language, not ‘reality’. But it remains doubtful whether he has in fact clearly distinguished the two and successfully limited himself to the linguistic level. 9 Much of Burke’s work shuttles between these two positions, and the reader is not always clear whether a given analysis is addressed to terms about action or to action itself. In practice, this unclarity beclouds the use of dramatism as a meta-method for talking about the explanatory (in his language, motivationa/) terms of theories of social action, with its employment as a method (with its own terms) for explaining social action. As a method, dramatism addresses the empirical questions of how persons explain their actions to themselves and others, what the cultural and social structural influences on these explanations might be, and what effect connotational links among the explanatory (motivational) terms might have on these explanations, and hence, on action itself. As a meta-method, dramatism turns from common sense explanatory discourse to that of the social scientist, in an effort to analyze and criticize the effect of a “connotational logic” on social scientific explanations of action. Thus, dramatism attempts to account for the motivational (explanatory) vocabulary of ordinary discourse and its influence on human action and for particular sociological vocabularies when they are used to explain human action. In the first case, Burke is addressing the influence of explanatory language on human action; in the second, he is dealing with the influence of explanatory language (its connotational logic) on the social scientific explanation of human action. But whether as meta-method or method, dramatism aims to be a logic of inquiry, an instrumental logic which may be used to investigate hypotheses about particular problems. Therefore, sociological examination of Burke’s dramatistic “method” will require both a brief specification of Burke’s problematic, and a rather more extensive treatment of his logic of inquiry both in terms of its development and the intersubjectivity of dramatistic practice. In the most fundamental sense Burke’s object of inquiry is motive: the language of motives, motives in language, language as motive. Yet motive is a concept which has several usages in the social sciences. The formulation of the concept as a cause, or as some drive state of the individual, are the most 134 familiar in sociological discourse. Burke’s conception of motive is like neither of these, and it has provided the basis for the symbolic interactionist understanding of motives as the accounts people give for their action: “rationalizations,” if you will, as motives. ~~ Nonetheless, his view of motives is not simply that of the individual’s verbal justification or explanation of his own or another’s action. Certainly, this formulation of motive would cover “language of motives” and “motives in language.” It handles Burke’s emphasis on the cultural and structural bases for particular vocabularies of motive and the process by which some verbal explanation becomes the sufficient justification for the individual’s own action or for the persuasion of others to act. What is omitted from this approach (which might be thought of as the study of vocabularies of motive) is the emphasis Burke places on the motivational influence of sheer terms. Words qua words, he suggests, because of the connotations which hold clusters of terms together, can become justifications for action. Whether or not there is a relation between things, Burke argues that if there is a connotational relation between the terms which symbolize these things, then the embedment of such a connotational relation in the linguistic structures of human mental processes is sufficient to influence people to translate this symbolic relation into action (by providing a sufficient justification, by making sense for them of the projected action). For example, to call some occurrence of a death “murder” is to justify (explain, motivate) the search for an individual who intended to kill; to call some property loss “theft” is to sanction a police dragnet for a thief. Murder and theft are criminal acts because of the statutory decision of some political body; they are not inherently criminal. No matter what took place at the scene of the crime, calling the situation “murder” or “theft” brings into play the terminological relations which inhere in the meaning of these words. Thus, if there was a “murder,” then there was a “murderer” – a person who, having constructed the “intention,” put it into action by killing an individual. Whatever took place to bring about this death, the attachment of meaning to it as a “murder” requires, because of the connotational relations which inhere in this term, that we look for an individual who planned and executed the act, whether or not such an individual exists. It is not the fact of the act as murder, but the fact of callh~g it “murder” which leads to the search for an intentional killer. Language is itself the motive for the search. H This may be a rather startling idea, and it might help to clarify it if we look at some consequences of Burke’s view as it could apply to something as familiar as the sociologist’s language of explanation. We are fond of talking, for example, about “explained variance,” a concept defined in statistical theory 135 as common covariation between variables. While there is no sense of”explanation” or “cause” in the statistical definition, the concept does have those meanings in theoretical discourse (at least, “explained” does). Thus, we find that a statistical measure of explained variance, e.g., R 2 , becomes the explanation of some relationship, despite that measure’s purely statistical nature. Again, “significance tests” refer only to the improbability of some statistical hypothesis; yet, the temptation, a temptation brought on by the other connotations of “significance,” to treat statistical significance substantively has lured many a researcher from the paths of technical purity. ~z All of which is to illustrate Burke’s view that the implicit coherency which makes terms “stick together” (our sense of what terms go with what) is as important an influence on the explanation we give for social behavior and action as are the actual relations which social phenomena bear to each other. 13 Thus, it is to this tripartite understanding of motives, to the language of explanation, explanation in language, language as explanation, that Burke turns his attention. His problematic is to describe the fundamental roots of motives in the social world, to explicate the changes in motivational frameworks which -can be traced across Western history, to show the importance for all human society of the fact that persons’ actions are influenced by words of explanation and justification, and finally, to offset the possible influence of inadequate languages of explanation employed by sociologists. To this problematic, Burke addresses the analytic tool of dramatism. 14 While motive is the object of dramatistic inquiry, dialectic is the method. But to say that Burke’s method is dialectical is, as Louis Schneider has commented, ~s to say nothing very clear; “dialectic” and “dialectical” are ambiguous terms. Among the various meanings that Schneider finds attached to the conception of dialectic in sociology, one has notions like the unanticipated consequences of human action, which is linked to questions of reification and alienation (when persons “find” themselves confronting these unintended creations as something more than human fabrications); goal displacement, the emergence of means as ends; successful societal adaptations as blockages to further change; development through conflict; contradiction, paradox, dilemma; and the dissolution of conflict by a melding of opposites. Yet Burke’s notion of dialectic involves but one of these, the concept of contradiction and the ironic presupposition that one approaches a fuller, more true, explanation for social action by taking opposing perspectives on that action. It is not unreasonable to ask why Burke argues for a dialectical rather than positive method for understanding the social world. I suspect that the answer 136 to that question reveals how similar his basic ontological assumptions about the world are to those of Wilhelm Dilthey, although Burke does not evidence awareness of the likeness. Like Ditthey he assumes that physical and social objects are different kinds of realities. The physical world is whatever it is, independent of human action, thought, belief or values. The social world, however, is an interpreted reality erected through action, belief and thought on the raw physical material. The consequence of this for both Burke and Dilthey is a presupposition that the methodology of the social sciences will be different from that of the physical sciences. For Burke, who takes the social world to be constituted through a dialectical (contradictory) process of interest-oriented action, this means electing a methodology which traces the multiplicity of interests and orientations possible in any situation. A dialectical ontology requires a dialectical epistemology. His dialectic thus involves an epistemological perspectivism 16 as the methodology to gr_asp the “essential” reality of the human world of action. His irony of contradiction, however, does not at all lead him to a “debunking” critique of the social realm. Rather it operates as a protection from the powerful influence of modal vocabularies of motives which have their roots in the property relations of society. If, as Marx says, “The ideas of the rufing class are, in every age, the ruling ideas: i.e. the class which is the dominant material force in society is at the same time its dominant intellectual force, ”17 then only through a deliberate and seemingly perverse entertainment of contradictory explanations can the social analyst construct an understanding of social relations (or, taking dramatism as meta-method, erect a vocabulary of terms) broader than that legitimated by the ruling class and its intellectual servants. While this latter point may well be a little stronger than Burke’s view, it is a consistent conclusion drawn from two Burkean premises. First, vocabularies of motive are rooted in the property structure and the influence of men of property; and second, multiplying such vocabularies will lead, through a dialectic of contradiction, to an “essentially” true explanation. Perhaps the most formally accurate characterization of this dialectic is in terms of its relation to the Platonic dialogue. Charles Morris, for example, described Burke’s A Grammar of Motives as: a dramatic dialectic in which philosophers, political theorists, economists, poets, theologians, and psychologists all have their say, and each mode of saying is shown to need correction by each other mode. The book is experienced as a vast dialogue. 18 Indeed, Burke’s dialectic is a conversation of many voices, each having its place and its perspective, no voice supplanting or replacing another: it is the 137 dialogue as a whole, the voices in harmony and discord, which is the end of the dialectic. There is here no question of a synthesis as the culmination of the dialectic; there is no single authoritative perspective; it is only the multiplicity of elements in the dialectic which offers an accurate account. 19 The reader should not yield to the temptation to dismiss lightly Burke’s use of this particular method (logic of inquiry); it is not a literary critic’s whim but an essential philosophical and political principle which underlies its usage. Burke finds in the institutionalizing of the dialectical process (as he conceived it) the only chance for a society to continue to function in its contacts with the obdurate character of the natural world. The natural world is whatever it is inherently; to define the world incorrectly, to act in the world on a false hypothesis has, as the limit, destructive consequences. A perspectival approach to the world offers, at least for Burke, more probability of an accurate interpretation of, and, thus, adaptive action on the natural and social world. This point is most clearly made where Burke says: I take democracy to be a device for institutionalizing the dialectic process by setting” up a political structure that gives full opportunity for the use of competitio n to a cooperative end … I should contend that the dialectic process absolutely must be unimpeded, if society is to perfect its understanding of reality by the.necessary method of give and take. 2~ Now we should turn to an examination of the development of this dialectical logic of inquiry and then to a consideration in more detail of the publicly available mrs for using dramatistic procedures. CRafty, this dialectic did not appear fully developed in his work in the nineteen twenties and thirties. Yet, even in Counterstatement, his earliest critical volume, the operation of his logic is clear, and Burke’s own comment on the seminal nature of this volume is essentially accurate, both with respect to its system and its method. 21 Indeed, his later work may be seen as a development of the method and substance of this first volume, although it would be misleading to claim that there is anything in this work but the conceptual possibility of the final system. Counterstatement propounds the view that the creative artist should be an advocate of values antithetical to those advanced by his particular time and society. Every era and culture will be marked by one overwhelming set of values, Burke claims, and this emphasis leads to a lack of attention to other “perennial” aspects of human experience. Given, he suggests, the technological emphasis, the appeal to motives like “money” and “efficiency” which 138 characterize the modal culture of the contemporary Western world, there is a neglect of motives (explanations, justifications) drawn from art, religion, mythology, and a celebration of motives taken from property, war, government, and social organization. In the face of this, it is the artist’s task to speak “dialectically,” to speak in opposition to this emphasis, in effect to speak for “inefficiency!” When one connects this oppositional concept of dialectic with the interestbased theory of ideational association that Burke takes explicitly from De Gourmont, then the adumbration of his method of inquiry stands forth in this first volume. From it, one can conclude that inquiry into human action is to be conducted by examining the interest bases for people’s ideas and ideational relations through a deliberate introduction of a contradictory perspective into the interaction of this action. Understanding is to be achieved by ironic illumination. Yet it is not at all clear in this book why it is that a contradictory perspective will lead one to a more accurate view, save that it can bring into analytic focus other aspects of human life which are obscured by the modal motivational framework legitimated by the “industrial” division of property and labor. Nor is it obvious what a contradictory perspective would be, or how one might construct it. However, in his next two volumes Permanence and Change (1965) and Attitudes Toward History (1959), Burke offers a more helpful account of the process of his dialectic. Indeed, he makes an effective presentation of a particular dialectical technique that he calls “perspective by incongruity.” This is a naethod that operates by bringing together terms and concepts which are normally never found together and which, in their ironic juxtaposition, undermine the “taken for granted” character of the motivational force of the terms in their conventional relations. In his words: “Perspective by incongruity [is] a method for gauging situations by verbal atom cracking. That is, a word belongs by custom to a certain category-and by rational planning you wrench it loose and metaphorically apply it to a different category. ”22 Burke notes that this technique is closely connected to De Gourmont’s notion of the “dissociation of ideas,” which “was concerned with the methodic blasting apart of verbal particles that had been considered inseparable; [whereas on the other hand] ‘perspective by incongruity’ refers to the methodic merger of particles that had been considered mutually exclusive. ”23 Nonetheless, these two techniques are hardly independent. They are a kind of early version of the “merger and division” technique, a device for exploring connotational transformations which flowers in his later work, ~ and which Burke traces back to the Phaedrus and Plato’s distinction between the twin processes of the dialectic-organization into unity and division into parts- 139 which work together to produce truthful discourse. But there must surely be many incongruous meldings of terms that one could use. Why one incongruity rather than another? Is Burke arguing for a “verbal cubism,” or does the atomic imagery he uses to define this technique expose a desire to be taken scientifically? The best answer one can extract from this context suggests that ” ‘perspective by incongruity’ makes for a dramatic vocabulary, with weighting and counter-weighting, in contrast with the liberal ideal of neutral naming in the characterization of processes.”2Syet, we can only guess at the basis for the “weighting.” While it is moral and aesthetic, and it seems to be informed by “a Marxism so tolerant, so tentative that he must find it a bit uncomfortable …. ,26 we have no explicit rules for it. However, it would not be inaccurate to read Burke as offering us a three-step guide to motivational analysis. First, identify the modal motivational framework, both its terms and the weighting of these terms on behalf of the ruling elites. Second, construct an ironic motivational terminology weighted in opposition to the interests of property by constructing incongruous motivational phrases from the modal vocabulary of motives and from whatever terms one’s own inventive genius will supply. Finally, offer this analysis in public discourse, in order to give a truer explanation for human action and to provide people with a liberating alternative justification for their action. This logic of inquiry, therefore, is not simply an instrument for interpreting the social world; it also gives the possibility of changing that world ! A penetrating example of this ironic technique is Burke’s account of psychoanalysis as a form of “secular conversion” which “effects its cures by providing a new perspective that dissolves the system of pieties lying at the root of the patient’s sorrows or bewilderments. ”27 If we translate that into a less Burkean vocabulary, then we may take him to be claiming that the therapist uncovers the patient’s neurotic tendencies and effects a “cure” by teaching the patient to use a different vocabulary to talk about them. The therapeutic vocabulary of motives is organized about a different “system of pieties,” a different moral order, and the analytic language works a cure as patients learn to talk about ‘ their problems in a new vocabulary with new moral values. Through this they discover the therapeutic effect of a new set of motives which frees them from the old motivational framework and, thus, from the old neurotic determination. 28 However, Burke did,not produce this ironic perspectivism de novo; indeed, he relates it to the basic orientation of Nietzsche and to the system of Bergson. Burke traces to Nietzsche the sense of perspectives as interpretations from a particular position, which become “true” insofar as they encourage a creative 140 praxis to bring the “mythic” orientation into reality. 29 It is to Bergson, however, that he turns for his justification of”incongruity as a system.” For Bergson, the life process is a continuous flow within which we make distinctions by the use of language. The existent world is a continuity of unified being; we find our way through it with the abstracting power of words. But these abstract verbal systems are not reality; if we want to get closer to reality, we must find a technique to unify the many different abstractions. Burke summarizes: “As the nearest verbal approach to reality, M. Bergson proposes that we deliberately cultivate the use of contradictory concepts. ”3~ Here is the fundamental distinction between things and words about things, and the further emphasis on the priority of things, which Burke insists on through all his work. Despite what he has to say about the necessity of using abstractions and metaphors to describe facts, he does appear to believe that the “isness” of the world exists independently of words about that “isness.” Yet what that “isness” might be without language is not very clear. Could it have more than what he calls recalcitrance, 31 the capacity to resist our interpretations? That’s hardly sufficient justification for him to give such priority to “things in themselves”; surely the “isness” of things is their least interesting quality to persons. Nonetheless, one cannot grasp Burke’s devoted attention to the study of language as it influences human conduct without understanding, at the same time, his fundamental assumption of the ontological priority of the physical, material world. This formulation of the “perspective by incongruity” was not the final statement of Burke’s dialectic; this is to be found in the “Pentad,” a codification of the many possible perspectives into five basic questions that are to be asked when explaining any human action. A Grammar of Motives is devoted to these questions. The development to this last stage is best traced by Daniel Fogarty in his effort to place Burke as a rhetorical theorist. 32 The dialectic of verbal incongruities in its initial statement, Fogarty suggests, allowed him to formulate a position. However, Burke quickly realized that such a simple thesis-antithesis-synthesis form neglected the potential of verbal irony, and he began to play with the etymological (connotative) possibilities of terms as a way of increasing the perspectives he could bring to bear, all the time searching for an “essential” definition of his terms. 33 With the many possible “starts” provided by this etymological approach, he was able to move “from the dialectical to the symposium type of inner personal discussion. It is as though Burke were a five- or six-man discussion group taking all the speaking parts himself until he has sifted the best resultant formulation of the idea in question… ‘Ideally [Burke writes in a letter], all the various voices are partisan rhetoricians whose partial voices ‘competitively cooperate’ to form the position of the dialogue as a whole…’ ,34 141 The pentad retains both the “inner symposium” and the etymological approach at the same time as it offers the final reconstruction of the dialectic. However, in this reconstruction, the “tolerant Marxism” of the earlier dialectic is incorporated into a procedure wherein incongruity is almost entirely teased out of motivational frameworks themselves, without explicit attention to their social or cultural roots in property relations. Yet, the pentad does codify the dramatistic logic of inquiry; it does provide rules, albeit of a general kind, for the explanation of human action. As Burke summarizes it: In any rounded statement about motives, you must have some word that names the act (names what took place, in thought or deed), and another that names the scene (the background of the act, the situation in which it occurred); also, you must indicate what person or kind of person (agent) performed the act, what means or instruments he used (agency), and the purpose.3S The five terms of the pentad are therefore Act, Scene, Agent, Agency, Purpose, to which he later added Attitude (as incipient act) to make a hexad. He notes that, as terms, they are neither positive nor dialectical, defined neither lexically nor oppositionatly; rather they are collapsed questions, e.g., Act is equivalent to ‘%.hat was done?”;Scene is the same as “In what sort of 36 a situation was it done?” and so on. Nor, he comments, is there anything particularly original about the pentad. It is parallel with Aristotle’s four causes; we can correlate material cause and Scene, efficient cause and Agent, formal cause and Act, final cause and Purpose, and, as a subdivision of final cause, means and Agency. The pentad has a similar relation to the “hexameter” of the mediaeval schoolmen, which was used as a mnemonic guide for rhetors when they were discussing an event, i.e., who, what, where, by what means, why, how, when. In the hexameter, “who” correlates with Agent, “what” with Act, “where” and “when” go with Scene, “why” with Purpose and “by what means” with Agency 37 Finally, a similar correlation can be found between the pentad and the journalist’s catechism: who, what, when, where and how. It is these similarities which give Burke such confidence in the basic nature of his terms. 38 Thus, it is the pentad which provides the fundamental dramatistic technique for methodic analyses of human action, or for the meta-methodological critique of the terminology about human action. In the relationships among these five terms there is a whole series of word pairs, correlations, or “ratios,” which may be used to explain action or to explicate explanations of action. The Scene-Act ratio, for example, is an 142 assertion that particular acts correlate with particular scenes, and “sensible” explanations will exhibit a consistency between acts and their scenes. Likewise, the Scene-Agent ratio explains action as a result of a correlation between agents and scenes: “It is a principle of drama that the nature of acts and agents should be consistent with the nature of the scene. ”39 However, the original “consistency” of the ratios has, in the latest formulation, become “correspondence,” such that with respect to a Scene-Act ratio he is talking about “a proposition such as: Though agent and act are necessarily different in many of their attributes, some notable element of one is implicitly or analogously present in the other. ”4~ The context in which we can best make sense of these explanatory correspondences between various terms of the pentad is to be found in Burke’s early work, The Philosophy of Literary Form. There he notes that dramatism is an heuristic for the analysis of human action,” it is a calculus – a vocabulary, or set of coordinates, that serves best for the integration of all phenomena studied by the social sciences. We propose it as the logical alternative to the treatment of human acts and relations in terms of the mechanistic metaphor (stimulus, response, and the conditioned reflex). And we propose it, along with the contention that mechanistic considerations need not be excluded from such a perspective, but take their part in it, as a statement about the predisposing structure of the ground or scene upon which the drama is enacted. 41 Burke recognizes that only a mechanistic explanation, perhaps in terms of “equilibria, ”42 will be appropriate for human aggregates and their behavior. Indeed, “Man’s involvement in the natural order makes him in many respects analyzable in terms of sheer motion…,,43 However, the dramatistic analysis of action is intended as a corrective to mechanistic perspectives and aggregate analysis. Through it, Burke hopes to rescue the human person, as a concept, from collapse into a conceptual universe suitable only for particles or organisms; and human persons, as living, acting symbolizing animals, from the “temptation to become sheer automata. ”44 The basic, corrective principles of dramatism and the ratios are taken from drama because human action is “essentially” dramatic, for Burke. The drama presumes human action; the playwright’s task is to offer a plausible account of the acts of agents in terms of scenes, purposes, and agencies. As Burke puts it in “Dramatism,” “drama is employed, not as a metaphor but as a fixed form that helps us discover what the implications of the terms ‘act’ and ‘person’ really are. ”4s In other words, the drama is Burke’s choice for an 143 analytic model of the social world. What makes drama work is the ability of playwrights to call upon cultural expectations of consistency between scenes and both acts and agents. Burke is saying that drama provides a form for the analysis of human action; drama “works” only when it draws on these cultural expectations so as to build plot and characters around these ratios. Thus, the drama is a major research site to which Burke has turned for his insight into motives. When he understands how a play operates, he knows about the expectations of both audience and playwright with respect to a convincing explanatory framework. It was precisely from his study of the drama that he was able to abstract the terms of the pentad as the major dimensions of the explanation of human action. The most common ratios used by Burke are Scene-Act and Scene-Agent. When engaged in a dramatistic study, he notes, “the basic unit of action would be defined as ‘the human body in conscious or purposive motion’, ”46 in other words, an agent acting in a situation. For example, in a mental hospital (scene) one would expect to find insane acts performed by insane agents; and conversely, one would also expect that agents who are insane and so act are properly found in mental hospitals. The correspondence between the pentadic terms is transitive. In this example, we can see that these ratios (linguistically based expectancies) provide guidance for people unsure of how to act in a situation (like a mental hospital), a framework with which to understand and explain the interaction around them, and justification for bringing some consistency into a situation which may lack it. Thus, in addition to their analytic contribution here, dramatistic ratios make explicable placing people into mental hospitals whom we find to be insane. Whether or not such action makes any therapeutic sense, it does bring the situation into line with the cultural expectancies that are encoded in the linguistic structure of mind. When Burke is analyzing something, he is trying to come to an understanding of its substance, its essence, which is equal to the sum of its connotational attributes. Thus, the ratios are used as heuristics to locate the essences of concepts or (methodically) of action. When one views the ratios as tools for uncovering the substance of terms, or the substance of action, i.e., when they are used so as to focus on one of the pentadic terms as it is affected by all the others; when a dialectic of many beginnings, many investigative starts, is used, then it is helpful to follow William Rueckert’s lead and take the many ratios as reducible to but four distinct terminological emphases which get at essence, at essential definitions, in different ways. 47 The first of these four, contextual definition, locates the essence of objects 144 (concepts, processes, conduct) in their setting, for example, the use of “organizational climate” as an independent variable. Genetic definition locates substance in the origins of things; this can be exemplified in the explanation of a son’s occupational status by reference to the father’s occupational status. The third of these, directional (entelechial) definition, treats essence as a trend or the perfection of a process; this is clearly what Marx is doing when he conceives of the perfecting, the transcending, of the class struggle in the trend toward the revolution and the establishment of a classless society. The last of these four is uniquely Burke’s, encompassing the other three, converting contextual, genetic and directional substance into dialectical essence. All terms locating substance in background, origins, or trends can be shown to form part of a cluster of terms that are related to each other by Burke’s use of a dialectic of merger and division, similarity and difference. This pursuit of dialectical substance is perhaps the most fundamental operation in Burke’s logic of inquiry. With it, he argues, terms of explanation and justification may be shown to cluster together about some master term. For example, in A Grammar of Motives, he spends much time arguing that the metaphysical positions of various philosophical schools may be explained as a result of their clustering around a master term (in this case drawn from the pentad); idealism around Agent, pragmatism around Agency, materialism around Scene, and so on. 4s It is here, perhaps, that his logic of inquiry is weakest; there are no explicit rules for accomplishing this analysis of clusters of motivational terms. Yet this particular procedure is central to ‘his work, for he claims that it is the dialectical substance of clusters of any explanatory terms which implies “logically” all the other parts. Thus, an explanation of human action which draws upon one term in any cluster will bring all the other terms to bear upon the explanation through a kind of connotive logic. And further, insofar as the mind is social, is built from, among other things, the motivational commonplaces of a particular social order, then the connotational relations in the cluster become a motivational (explanatory) resource for the individual person. Willy nilly, people are drawn to explain and justify their acts, to urge themselves and others to act, by the internal logic of these dialectical clusters. Indeed, one of these clusters, “order” (the cluster of terms which are connotatively implicit in this concept), contains, for Burke, the whole drama of human relations – contains, therefore, the essence of the human condition. Through his analysis of the connotations of the term “order,” Burke tries to show that the substance of the human social realm is that of an hierarchial order held together by norms, where both hierarchy and norms are 145 rooted in property interests and stabilized by processes of scapegoating through which the reality and morality of the hierarchial order are affirmed. 49 It is the centrality, therefore, of this dialectidal procedure which makes Burke’s omission of any set of rules for the use of the technique (save the heuristic employment of the pentad) so problematic for his methodic position. However, a careful search of Burke’s writings does provide some lead as to the overall critical method he proposes, at least with respect to literature, s~ We must not forget that Burke developed dramatism as a system for the analysis of action (and terms about action) out of a method of literary criticism. His remarks here may be taken, therefore, as a basis for understanding his general method. For Burke, any kind of literary work, any kind of symbolic action, can be analyzed as “dream,” “prayer,” or “chart,” i.e., in terms of its sub-conscious elements, its communicative aspects, or its efforts to give realistic meaning to a personal or social situation, sl But in any of these cases, the essential facts in a literary work are its words; thus, the basic tool for analysis is a selected concordance of terms, a list of words with the frequency and context of their occurrence. From this list, the literary analyst’s task is to develop an interpretation of the work’s “solution” to some problem in the life of the artist or the society in which he lives. In constructing an interpretation, Burke acknowledges that the analyst’s fundamental assumptions about the social world must play a part: For, he says: Facing a myriad possible distinctions, he should focus on those that he considers important for social reasons. Roughly, in the present state of the world we should group these about the ‘revolutionary’ emphasis involved in the treatment of art with primary reference to symbols of authority, their acceptance and rejection, s2 Burke also outlines some principles for the selection of words into the “concordance,” which are of interest in that they give an idea as to why he focuses on one word rather than another; but they do not help to explicate the relation between words, which is crucial to understanding word clusters. Indeed, when he summarizes the essay and its methodological advice, he says to “look for moments at which in your opinion, the work comes to fruitiorL Imbue yourself with the terminology of these moments. And spin from them. ”s3 But it is precisely this “spinning” for which we are trying to discover a logic; it is “spinning” which is his technique for constructing dialectical clusters. We are not completely without guidance. There is one important clue to the 146 criteria for the relations between words, which may be found in Burke’s comment: We consider synecdoche to be the basic process of representation, as approached from the standpoint of ‘equations’ or ‘clusters of what goes with what.’ To say that one tan substitute part for whole, whole for part, container for the thing contained, thing contained for the container, cause for effect, or effect for cause, is simply to say that both members of these pairs belong in the same associational cluster, s4 “[S]ince substitution is a prime resource available to symbol systems…,,,ss and if the synecdoche is the basis for relations within dialectical clusters, then I would argue that it is to the peculiar logic of the dream, as understood by Freud, s6 and to the techniques of free association, s~ that we should look to understand the process of dialectical substance. The logical relations in the dream are different from the logic of consciousness. In the dream, logical connections are represented by temporal simultaneity, causal relationships, by the transformation of a causal object into its effect, by the suppression of “either/or,” and most importantly, as Freud notes, by the fact that “Dreams feel themselves at liberty.., to represent any element by its wishful contrary. ”s8 The dream is characterized most fundamentally, in fact, by synecdoche and an ironic dialectic of opposites. Now while, admittedly, Burke’s discussion of the logic of the dream, particularly the concepts of “condensation” and “displacement,” which he appropriates as “the tendency of one event to become the synecdochic representative of some other event in the same cluster, ”s9 takes place in the context of his analysis of his analysis of subconscious elements of poetry (the poem as dream), the synecdoche is the fundamental relational process of his connotational logic, tout court. It is the synecdoche together with three other tropes, metonymy, metaphor, and irony, which serve as the relata between motivational (explanatory) terms. Thus, in the exploration of the relations within dialectical clusters, terms are shown to be related as parts to wholes, as tangibles for intangibles, by representation, and in paradox and contradiction. 6~ Which is to say that, loosely speaking, it is a “figurative” or “metaphorical” logic which underpins the connotational organization of terms in particular dialectical clusters. Perhaps these comments will become clearer if I provide an example of Burke’s own application of a dramatistic procedure to a situation in which his assumptions about the interrelationship of language, mind and action are used to frame the interpretation of a complex social action. Burke claims that, just 147 as language is the unique human capacity, and the mind is formed out of the social process (which is one of communication), so the principles of mental functioning (and the symbolic and social action in which it results) are built on the syntactic and semantic qualities of particular languages. 61 Thus, grammars of motivational terms can also be treated as grammars of human action. Burke’s explanation for the rise of Christian anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany seems a useful example of his method, although no claims are made that this analysis is empirically substantiated. For Burke, as for others like Lipset (1963), anti-Semitism is an example of scapegoating. Burke is here addressing the same problem as social scientists, the correlation between economic depression and anti-Semitism. The problem is familiar to sociologists; it is his analysis which will appear unusual. Let me quote Burke’s analysis at some length so that readers may appreciate the flavor of his work and have the text to refer to as 1 try to provide a fuller explication: Economic depression means psychologically a sense of frustration. The sense of frustration means psychologically a sense of persecution. The sense of persecution incites, compensatorily, a sense of personal worth, or goodness, and one feels that this goodness is being misused. One then ‘magnifies’ this sense of wronged goodness by identification with a hero. And who, with those having received any Christian training in childhood, is the ultimate symbol of persecuted goodness? ‘Christ.’ And who persecuted Christ? The Jews. Hence, compensatorily admiring oneself as much as possible, in the magnified version of a hero (the hero of one’s first and deepest childhood impressions) the native Christian arrives almost ‘syllogistically’ at anti-Semitism as the ‘symbolic solution’ of his economically caused frustrations. 62 Of course, one could see this argument as nothing more than an attempt to fdl out the linkages concealed by the “frustration-aggression” hypothesis, and, given Burke’s familiarity with Freud, it may well be that this particular explanation of aggressive behavior was a stimulating influence in Burke’s development of his own more elaborate theory. Nonetheless, we will not get far in understanding this example of Burke’s analytic technique if we treat him as a plagiarizer of Freud. Nor would it greatly assist this illustration of the figurative logic of dramatism if we were to use the merger and division technique, as does Burke himself in a later volume. 63 On the other hand, if we reconstruct this argument and try to amplify the links in the argument by appeal to the pentadic ratios, it may help to bring out the mixture of metaphorical, “logical,” relata in the theory. 148 Economic depression leads to psychological frustration. When the scene for people is economic depression, then the acts of agents who take that scene as their frame will exhibit depressive qualities, like frustration, in consistency. Thus is enacted the correspondence of Scene-Act, Scene-Agent ratios. When frustration is taken, in its turn, as the scene, the context, for agents acting, it offers only a very limited and constrained frame within which to understand and justify one’s ability to act (or rather one’s inability to act), and this leads to a “Why me?” attitude. The compensatory way in which a sense of persecution can lead to a sense of personal worth and “wronged goodness” appears to be an operation of antithesis: people could equally well be depressed by a sense of persecution. Thus, a feeling of persecution, when it leads to a sense of increased self worth, is achieved through the logic of opposites. Compare the ironies of the Sermon on the Mount: the progression to a sense of “wronged goodness” is accomplished through an Agent-Scene consistency-good people, good agents, are treated well, operate against a good scene. From this point, the argument is somewhat more obvious! By identification with the hero-figure, persecuted individuals are able to make their own feelings consequential on a broader scene. They can locate themselves in a cultural rather than personal context: But why Jesus? The subsumption of terms under the connotative influence of a master term is one of the most important elements in motivational grammar. In much the same way that terms “transcend” the things they represent, there is a tendency in grammars of motive to “transcend” motivational (explanatory) terms with one summary, essential, “God term.” What more appropriate “God term” for the hero, as a motive, than “Jesus” could we find? The individuals and Christ are now “condensed” for the individuals’ motivational understanding of the economic depression. Their sufferings are now synecdochically involved with Christ; they are part of the whole that is Jesus. The rest flows, Burke remarks, “almost ‘syllogistically.’ ” When the individuals are Christ, and are identified with him “essentially,” then the persecutors, equally “essentially,” are the persecutors of Christ: the Jews. This illustrative reconstruction from Burke’s work, selected for its sociological topic, does pose the two questions that remain to be asked about dramatism. First, how are we to separate the methodic use of this system from its employment as a meta-method (as an analytic device for examining explanatory terms)? The illustration, of course, is methodic in character; it implies that this account of anti-Semitism is a description of the process through which individual Germans came to hold their position. Nonetheless, it would take little effort to suggest that, whether or not this description was 149 empirically substantiated, the connotational relations of the terms used by the analyst could produce that same analytic description. Method and metamethod are entwined. Indeed, from another perspective, the distinction between dramatism as a method and as a meta-method could be eliminated, and both modes of analysis could be treated as procedures for interpreting explanations of human action that are different only in terms of the audiences to which these motivational accounts are addressed. Thus, what has been called the meta-methodic use of dramatism may be viewed as a sociological procedure for interpreting explanations of action offered to a sociological audience, and what has been termed the methodic use may be seen as a sociological procedure for interpreting explanations of action (and hence action itself) offered to any audience other than a sociological one. 64 In both cases, however, the dramatistic logic of inquiry is directed to the interpretation and analysis of explanations (motivational accounts), and the dramatistic procedures of analysis are the same. Thus, in assessing the utility of dramatism, it makes little difference if we draw a distinction between its employment as method or as meta-method. This moves us to the second, and perhaps more important question, one that relates directly to the sociological efficacy of dramatism. Is there a practical limit, a limit that would make analytic sense, to the kinds of descriptive accounts that could be spun out of the terms of this illustration, or, more generally, out of any set of analytic terms? Certainly there is no reason to scorn the pentad as a guiding role for the critique of analyses of human action. Indeed, Zollschan and Overington (1975) have exhibited the pentad’s utility as a role for assessing the theoretic generality of theories of motivation. Yet, the actual operation of such dramatistic critiques of explanations, as well as dramatistic explanations themselves through the development of dialectical clusters of terms, raises problems. Clearly, the connotational relata of synechdochy, metonymy, metaphor, and irony, which constitute the internal logic of dialectical clusters, precisely because of their figurative (metaphoric) character, make it possible for individuals to present highly personal analyses of explanations for human action. What makes terms relative as parts for wholes, as tangibles for intangibles, as representational, and as contradictions is manifestly dependent upon what metaphoric connotations they have for a particular user of the dramatistic critique. Fortunately, we can assume that these figurative relata will not be merely idiosyncratic; nonetheless, they will be influenced by the analyst’s experience. Yet, surely, this need not condemn the dramatistic logic of inquiry to the realm of the intra-subjective and the merely personal. 150 Although Burke’s discussion of the analysis of literary work, in “Fact, Inference and Proof in the Analysis of Literary Symbolism”, may well not be directly applicable here, it does provide a guide to the production of evidence within the dramatistic logic of inquiry. Whatever the nature of a particular dramatistic interpretation, however a person spins the analysis of some explanation of human action (whether that be addressed to a sociological or some other audience), the text of the explanation (the motivational account) is always available as a concrete “fact” from which to generate rival interpretations. And here, is the dramatistic analyst worse off than any sociologist engaged in the reconstruction, the representation, of another’s theory? Are there rules comparable to those applied in the reconstruction of survey, observational, or experimental evidence that one can use in the reconstruction of theories (explanations) of action? Some sociologists have argued that since there are rules for any theorizing that is addressed to a sociological audience (usually they mean constructing logically well-formed propositions that are “testable”), one should reconstruct such theorizing according to these same rules. Others have made a practice of reconstructing some aspect of another’s explanation so that it will organize a data set with little attention to the relationship that these selected aspects bear to the totality of the other’s work. To a degree, therefore, there are rules that some follow in the reconstruction of theories (explanations) that are addressed to sociologists. Nonetheless, the majority of such reconstructions follow neither of the patterns that we have portrayed and rely instead upon the plausibility secured by the interpretation in relation to its audience. Certainly, we know little or nothing about the rules for achieving this plausibility. Our studies of the rhetoric of sociology are barely nascent. And so to repeat the question: “Is the dramatistic analyst worse off than any sociologist engaged in the reconstruction, the representation, of another’s theory?” If we restrict the answer to those theories (explanations of action) addressed to a sociological audience, then I believe the answer to be “No.” In the first place, we do not know what the rules are for presenting plausible reconstructions (unless stylistic familiarity or sociological fashionability be crucial!); a dramatistic reconstruction has as much a priori plausibility as any other interpretation that could be generated with the text. In the second place, to match the claimed reconstructive adequacy of well-formed and testable propositions (either in interrelated nets or wrenched out of any context), the dramatistic logic of inquiry proposes its own criteria. These are twofold. First, identify the key analytic terms in the explanation; and second, explore the connotational links in dialectical clusters formed by these key analytic terms under the pentadic rubric (Remember that “In any rounded statement about motives, you must have some word that names… [the act, 151 scene, agent, agency, and purpose]. ”6s Performing both of these tasks leads to a rounded dramatistic analysis, and, insofar as the original explanation of action (theory) is inadequately developed with respect to the pentad, makes a dramatistic critique possible. Thus, to answer our original question as to the possibility of a limit on the dramatistic spinning out of connotational relata, it is possible to indicate three limiting factors. First, the text as a “fact” imposes an overall framework within which these dialectical clusters may be explained. Second, the aim of the dramatistic analyst, to spin out the pentadic terms through an exploration of these clusters, directs the analysis. Finally, the audience to whom the dramatistic analysis is directed provides a culture within which some connotations will be more acceptable (perhaps because they are more familiar and fashionable?), and hence the analysis more plausible. However, although these same three factors provide practical limits in the dramatistic analysis of motivational (explanatory) frameworks that are not addressed to sociologists, they do not offer guidance in the sampling of motivational discourse that is to become the “text” for the inquiry. Of course, such a sampling problem does not arise with motivational frameworks (explanations of action) that are offered to a sociological audience. But when it comes to an attempt to analyze the frameworks of motives that members of some group, organization, institution, or even a whole culture 66 employ in explaining their completed or proposed actions, we are very much in need of some rules for sampling. These the dramatistic logic of inquiry fails to offer, and Burke’s own practice suggests little more than the rhetorical techniques of example and illustration as procedures for sampling. These are certainly not adequate as systematic rules for selecting items of motivational discourse from socially bounded universes of motivational talk. Yet, surely we have enough theories of sampling in use among sociologists engaged in observational, experimental, and survey research to provide some basis for sampling items of motivational discourse from motivational frameworks. This defect of dramatism is hardly crippling! We have traced the development of dramatism as a method of inquiry into motivational (explanatory) frameworks of all kinds, from its early formulation as an emancipatory analytic counterpoint against motivational frameworks that serve the interests of property to its last change into an internally self-sufficient procedure for uncovering the connotational influences on explanations of action (particularly, sociological explanatory terminologies). This change (from a “tentative Marxism” to an essential perspectivism) is the last stage in Burke’s struggle to formulate a general system for the analysis of 152 motives and language. In this final transformation, he isolates language from its embedment in patterns of interaction in order to treat the “purely” linguistic relationships among words. Of course, such a treatment has to assume the cultural actuality of the metaphorical relata through which analysis takes place, much as L6vi-Stranss has to presume the actuality of a binary logic for his analysis of myth. 67 Sociologists concerned to utilize a dramatistic logic of inquiry must decide for themselves whether they will use it to study the purely internal relations of motives and language, or whether they will employ it in an examination of the social and economic roots of motivational discourse. The procedures for analyzing motivational frameworks will be the same in either case. Clearly, the present brief exposition has not provided an inventory of the techniques to be used in a dramatistic analysis; that was not its purpose. Indeed, from the dearth of sociological commentary on dramatism, it would appear that no sociological audience is yet available for the monographic length that such completeness would entail. Here, rather, we have examined the sociological pertinence of Burke’s work through a concentration on the intersubjectivity of his methodology. This intersubjectivity is a necessary condition for the sociological import of dramatism. It is reasonable to conclude from the present reconstruction that dramatism does provide such an intersubjective method for the analysis and critique of explanations of action. Dramatism meets the necessary condition for its sociological importance. Only time will tell if that necessary condition is also “sufficient.” REFERENCES Burke, Kenneth, The Philosophy of Literary Form, New York: Vintage, 1957. Burke, Kenneth, Attitudes Toward History, Boston: Beacon Press, 1959. Burke, Kenneth, “Fact, Inference and Proof in the Analysis of Literary Symbolism,” in Stanley Hyman, ed., Terms for Order, Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1964, pp. 145-172. Burke, Kenneth, Permanence and Change, Indianapolis, Indiana: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965. Burke, Kenneth, Language as Symbolic Action, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966. Burke, Kenneth, Counterstatement, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968a. Burke, Kenneth, “Dramatism,” International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, New York: Macmillan, 1968b, pp. 445-452. Burke, Kenneth, A Grammar of Motives, Berkeley: University of California Press; 1969a. Burke, Kenneth, A Rhetoric of Motives, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969b. Burke, Kenneth, The Rhetoric of Religion, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1970. Lipset, Seymour Martin, “The Sources of the Radical Right,” in Daniel Belt, ed., The Radical Right, Garden City, New York: Anchor Books, 1963. 153 NOTES 1. This work incorporates portions of a chapter of a dissertation submitted to the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Joe Elder, Lloyd Bitzer, and Warren Hagstrom met together with Kent Geiger and Nick Danigelis in 1974 to sign away their blame for that project. Failing to persuade George Zollschan that he should take some share of the culpability, the writer is left to acknowledge full responsibility for whatever sins of commission and omission that this latest revision includes. 2. Kenneth Burke, “Dramatism,” in International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (New York, 1968), pp. 445-452. 3. Louis Wirth, “Review of Permanence and Change,” American Journal of Sociology 43 (1938), pp. 483-486. 4. Wayne Booth, “Kenneth Burke’s Way of Knowing,” Critical Inquiry 1 (September 1974), p. 2. 5. See Armin Paul Frank and Mechthild Frank, “The Writings of Kenneth Burke,” in William Rueckert, ed., Critical Responses to Kenneth Burke: 1924-1926 (Minneapolis, 1969), pp. 495-512. 6. See Michael A. Overington, “Kenneth Burke as Social Theorist: He’s Got Some Explaining to Do,” St. Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada (1975). 7. Kenneth Burke, “Dramatism,” op. cit., p. 445. 8. Ibid., p. 448. 9. Abraham Kaplan, “A Review of A Grammar of Motives,” in William Rueckert, ed., op. cir., p. 170. The classic essay here is C. Wright Mills, “Situated Actions and Vocabularies of Motive,” in Irving Louis Horowitz, ed., Power, Politics and People (New York, 1963), pp. 439-452. Here Mills acknowledges his debt to Burke’ s Permanence and Change, first published in 1935. This paper by Mills in 1940 was the debut of Burke’s ideas in sociology. The most recent analytic attention to the issue of motives from a similar position may be found in George K. Zollschan and Michael A. Overington, “Reasons for Conduct and the Conduct of Reason,” in George K. Zollschan and Walter Hirsch, eds., Social Change: Conjectures, Explanations and Diagnoses (Boston, 1975). It is interesting here to compare David Matza’s treatment of the “essential thief.” Matza points out that the common sense view of the way in which police investigate crimes is hardly in keeping with their practice. They do not tackle such matters with a Holmesian technique, i.e., inductive clue collection leading to a deduction of the identity of the culprit; rather, they have a pre-selected collection of individuals in the community who are, by their reputation, thieves, what Matza calls “essential thieves.” The police turn to this group for their suspect. As Burke would expect, an act which is “essentially” that of theft, requires for its motivational complement (its explanation) a person who is “essentially” a thief. A person and his acts become so confounded that the person’s identity is seen as nothing more than his actions written large. This identification of a person with his acts is the result, Burke would say, of the power of motivational terms to create a coherent justification which will have consequences for people. The “essential thief” is the necessary dramatistic complement to the act of theft, when the connotative logic implied by the term “theft” is worked out in practice. The use of deviant acts in this example will surely remir~d the reader of some of the concerns of “labeling theory” which has commonalities with Burke’s position. Nonetheless, his understanding of the motivational force of verbal labels is a good deal broader than the position of the labeling theorists. See also K. W. Taylor and James Frideres, “Issues versus Controversies: Substantive and Statistical Significance,” American Sociological Review 37 (August 1972), pp. 464-472. 10. 11. 12. 154 13. I agree with Burke that “things” and the symbols for things are not the same; but what one can know about “things” without symbols, apart from their resistance, is quite mysterious. Thus, what the actual relations between phenomena might be is always an hypothesis; the only way to address this is in the selection of a set of terms by means of which to conduct an analysis. If human knowledge is acquired through symbols, then the “actual” state of affairs of the world is not open to human knowledge, only that “actuality” which enters in its symbolic “transformation.” 14. See further, Overington, “Kenneth Burke as Social Theorist: He’s Got Some Explaining to Do,” op. cit. 15. Louis Schneider, “Dialectic in Sociology,” American Sociological Review 36 (August 1971), pp. 667-678. 16. “Epistemological perspectivism” is a locution chosen to express a philosophical view of knowledge of the social world as fundamentally available only within personal, social, and ideological perspectives; to claim that there is no knowledge of social objects, no knowledge of persons, no social knowledge, therefore, which is complete, absolute, unconditioned by intellectual frameworks and language. One should not be tempted to see Burke as idiosyncratic in his perspectivism. Others who have advocated similar positions are Karl Mannheim, George Mead, Alfred Schutz, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty; a distinguished collection of people who have had some influence on the development of sociological thinking. 17. Karl Marx, Selected Writings in Sociology and Social Philosophy, T. B. Bottomore and Maximilien Rubel, eds. (New York, 1956), p. 78. 18 Charles Morris, “The Strategy of Kenneth Burke,” in William Rueckert, ed., op. eit., p. 164. 19. Here Burke differs from both Plato and Hegel, for, of any one voice in the dialogue (or dialectic, the terms are equivalent for him), “[It is] necessarily a restricted perspective, since it represents but one voice in the dialogue, and not the perspective-of-perspectives that arises from the cooperative competition of all the voices as they modify one another’s assertions; so that the whole transcends the partiality of its parts.” [Kenneth Burke, A Grammar of Motives (Berkeley, California, 1969), p. 89.] 20. Kenneth Burke, The Philosophy of Literary Form (New York, 1957), p. 328. 21. Kenneth Burke, Counterstatement (Berkeley, California, 1968), p. xi. 22. 22. Kenneth Burke, Attitudes Toward History (Boston, Mass., 1959), p. 308. 23. Kenneth Burke, Permanence and Change (Indianapolis, Indiana, 1965), pp. liv-lv. When not applied too narrowly, this conception of “perspective by incongruity” is not strange to sociology. Most familiar to American sociologists, perhaps, will be its application by the Chicago School Although the University of Chicago Sociological Series, which is the best collection of the work of the researchers at Chicago, contains around thirty-five volumes, it is the studies of deviance which are best known and are seen as best representative of the School. It is in these volumes that irony can be seen in the use of terms like “profession,” “career,” “morality,” etc., to analyze the activity of deviants and criminals. This linking of “respectable” terms with deviant activity quite clearly captures the sense of verbal incongruity to which Burke is referring. 24. Burke, A Grammar of Motives, op. cit., pp. 402-418. 25. Burke, Attitudes Toward History, op. cit., p. 311. 26. Crane Brinton, “What is History?,” Saturday Review of Literature 15 (August, 1937), pp. 3-4, 11. 27. Burke, Permanence and Change, op. cir., p. 125. 28. For similar accounts of the procedures of psychoanalysis, cf O. Hobart Mowrer, The Crisis in Psychiatry and Religion (Princeton, New Jersey, 1961) and Jerome Frank, Persuasion and Healing (New York, 1961). A parallel description of con- 155 version through the provision of new vocabularies of motive is to be found in a study of brainwashing in China by Robert Jay Lifton, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism (London, 1961). 29. It is not altogether clear that Burke’s essentialist and substance-oriented philosophy is a comfortable bedmate with Nietzsche’s perspectivist and process vision. Surely Burke is also a perspecti,~ist, but one always feels that he is struggling to an understanding of the essence of persons and their world. On the other hand, Nietzsche’s “myths” appear to be instruments through which he seeks to realize his own potential. It may well be that Frederick Copleston’s summary of the importance of Nietzsche’s work as “a dramatic expression of a lived spiritual crisis” [A History of Philosophy, Vol. VII (New York, 1963), p. 1991 captures the real common ground between these two men. Burke’s works published before the Second World War speak of the effect of the economic depression on the artist’s mind (his own): the Depression overturned a whole system of values and motives and threw into chaos the minds which had been socialized to these same values and motives. These volumes further speak of Burke’s attempt to use them to put his “world” back together (see particularly, Permanence and Change, op. cit., p. xlvii). It may well be that the common spiritual crisis which he shared with Nietzsche led to his electing a similar perspectivist orientation which would insulate him from the collapse of another absolute system of values and motives. Yet, in Language as Symbolic Action (Berkeley, California, 1966), pp. 3-24, one finds Burke endorsing his own perspectival analysis as that best suited to tracking down the essence of human conduct. In the culmination of the dramatistic system, therefore, perspectivism is swallowed up in a dialectical method which no longer requires ironic counterpoint. 30. Burke, Permanence and Change, op. cit., p. 94. 31. Ibid., pp. 255-261. 32. Daniel Fogarty, Roots for a New Rhetoric (New York, 1959). This work gains its authority from Burke’s comments on Fogarty’s reconstruction of his method, which are included in the volume. 33. One should note the parallels between Burke and Durkheim, The Rules of the Sociological Method (New York, 1938), p. 35, and Aristotle’s method of many beginnings and the search for an “essential” definition for the concept under investigation, cf. Richard McKeon, “Aristotle’s Conception of the Development and the Nature of Scientific Method,” Journal of the History of Ideas 8 (January, 1947), pp. 4-5. 34. Daniel Fogarty, “Kenneth Burke’s Theory,” in William Rueckert, ed., op. cir., p. 326. 35. Burke, A Grammar of Motives, op. cir., p. xv. 36. Kenneth Burke, The Rhetoric of Religion (Berkeley, California, 1970), p. 26. 37. Burke, A Grammar of Motives, op. cit., p. 228. 38. Fogarty, “Kenneth Burke’s Theory,” op. cit., p. 327. 39. Burke, A Grammar of Motives, op. cir., p. 3. 40. Burke, “Dramatism,” op. cit., p. 446. 41. Burke, The Philosophy of Literary Form, op. cir., p. 90. 42. See Burke, “Dramatism,” op. cir. 43. Burke, Language as Symbolic Action, op. cir., p. 60. 44. Ibid., p. 59. 45. Burke, “Dramatism,” op. cit., p. 448. 46. Burke, A Grammar of Motives, op. cir., p. 74. 47. William Rueckert, Kenneth Burke and the Drama of Human Relations (Minneapolis, 1963), pp. 153-154. 48. Burke, A Grammar of Motives, op. cir., pp. 127-317. 49. Kenneth Burke, A Rhetoric of Motives (Berkeley, California, 1969), pp. 183-294, and Burke, The Rhetoric of Religion, op. cit., pp. 172-272. 156 50. Burke, The Philosophy of Literary Form, op. cit., pp. 56-75, and Kenneth Burke, “Fact, Inference and Proof in the Analysis of Literary Symbolism,” in Stanley Hyman, ed., Terms for Order (Bloomington, Indiana, 1964), pp. 145-172. 51. Burke, The Philosophy of Literary Form, op. cir., pp. 6-7, 241-243. 52. Burke, Attitudes Toward History, op. cir., p. 200. 53. Burke, “Fact, Inference and Proof in the Analysis of Literary Symbolism,” op. cit., p. 167. 54. Burke, The Philosophy of Literary Form, op. cir., p. 65. 55. Burke, “Dramatism,” op. cir., p. 450. 56. Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams (New York, 1965). 57. Burke, The Philosophy of Literary Form, op. cit., p. 229. 58. Freud, op. cit., p. 353. 59. Burke, The Philosophy of Literary Form, op. cir., p. 239. 60. Burke, A Grammar of Motives, op. cit., pp. 503-517. 61. The parallels here with G. H. Mead, Sapir-Whorf, and the symbolic interactionist tradition, are obvious. 62. Burke, Attitudes Toward History, op. cit., pp. 168-169. 63. Burke, A Grammar of Motives, op. cir., pp. 406-408. 64. See further, Zollschan and Overington, op. cit. 65. Burke, A Grammar of Motives, op. cit., p. xv. 66. For example, see Burke, Attitudes Towardllistory, op. cit., pp. 111-165. 67. See Edmund Leach, Claude L~vi-Strauss (New York, 1970). Theory and Society, 4 (1977) 131-156 9 Scientific Publishing Company, Amsterdam – Printed in the Netherlands


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