Political Literacy

Rhetoric, Ideology, and the Possibility of Justice

By Fredric G. Gale

Subjects: Cultural Critique
Series: SUNY series, INTERRUPTIONS: Border Testimony(ies) and Critical Discourse/s
Paperback : 9780791418062, 198 pages, February 1994
Hardcover : 9780791418055, 198 pages, February 1994

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Table of contents


1. New Perspectives

2. Sources and Traditions of Modern Justice

3. Critical Approaches to the Question of Justice

4. Rhetoric, Justice, and Ideology

5. Literacy and the Possibility of Justice



Works Cited



Political Literacy confronts and responds to the question: What is required of the citizens of a democracy to ensure their individual and social rights? Exploring the rhetoric of legal interpretation, this book answers that citizens must be so educated as to have an intellectual awareness of the inherently rhetorical nature of language.

Political Literacy explodes the myth that justice is delivered in the measured, seemingly disinterested, written decisions of America's highest courts. Instead, it reveals the political nature of legal opinions and their necessarily ideological perspectives. Using arguments and examples from a variety of ancient and modern writers and thinkers, the book defines political literacy for the first time. Fredric Gale passionately calls for changes in the way the public is educated about the justice system and about the risk of complacency in this crucial area of public life.

Fredric G. Gale is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Arkansas. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School, Gale was formerly a practicing attorney and judge.


"These arguments are timely, well-made, and deserving of wide and careful attention. Fredric Gale writes with impressive and sure knowledge of the law, jurisprudence, critical theory, and composition theory, a considerable achievement. "— G. Douglas Atkins, University of Kansas