The uncivil tongue: Invitational rhetoric and the problem of inequality

Nina M. Lozano-Reich, Dana L. Cloud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Invitational rhetoric espouses communication based on the immanent value and self-determination of interlocutors. With regard to theories that posit persuasion as a goal, an invitational model posits the dialogic encounter as ethically superior. We contend that the suitability of the invitational paradigm presupposes conditions of economic, political, and social equality among interlocutors. However, such conditions of actual equality are rare in both political controversy and interpersonal relations. Furthermore, the appeal to civility is a form of gender discipline; thus we advocate theorizing the uncivil tongue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-226
Number of pages7
JournalWestern Journal of Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Agency
  • Civility
  • Ethics
  • Feminism
  • Invitational rhetoric
  • Materialism
  • Power
  • Social change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics


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