Attuning (to) Ambience: Thomas Rickert’s Ambient Rhetoric: The attunements of Rhetorical Being

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Published in: Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, vol. 21, no.1, 2016.


Thomas Rickert’s (2013) Ambient Rhetoric: The Attunements of Rhetorical Being retheorized rhetorical invention by way of Heidegger and within the context of various postmodern materialisms, thereby inviting contemporary rhetoric into conversation with theoretical and technological advances in other fields.

In this review, I'll explain the fundamental concepts and mechanics of Rickert's theory of ambient rhetoric (and provide a chapter outline) in Dynamics. Then in Diffractions, I'll articulate the distinctions Rickert drew between a theory of ambient rhetoric and other relevant ontologies, epistemologies, semiotics, and rhetorics, while offering illustrative examples of the theory at work. Finally, in Dwellings, I'll explore some of the theory's implications and limitations.