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Ideology and Opinions

Ideology and Opinions
Studies in Rhetorical Psychology

April 1991 | 224 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
In this thought-provoking book, Billig presents major essays which develop and illustrate his rhetorical approach to social psychology. His position is that everyday thinking, including the holding of opinions, is of its essence both rhetorical and ideological. The very process of thinking is a process of argumentation and debate - with self, with others and with the ideologies inherent in the social stock of commonsense knowledge.

Following an elaboration of the theoretical basis and implications of his argument, the author demonstrates how a rhetorical perspective can be applied empirically. He explores the concept of prejudice, argumentation within the family, commonsense opinions about monarchy and the operations of ideology in both the very ordinary lives of the young right-wing and the extra-ordinary `rationalities' of fascist propaganda. The final chapter returns to broader themes of rhetoric and ideology. Billig offers a powerful critique of the current modern and postmodern interest in rhetoric and outlines his alternative vision of the `argumentative society'.

Ideology, Rhetoric and Opinions
Thinking as Arguing
Social Representations and Rhetoric
The Very Ordinary Life of Young Conservatives
Arguments in Fascist Propaganda
The Concept of `Prejudice'
Rhetorical and Historical Aspects of Attitudes
The Case of the British Monarchy

The Argumentative Nature of Holding Strong Views
Politics and the Revival of Rhetoric

`Useful and refreshingly provocative... Billig is excellent in his discussion of the recent apparent split in National Front attitudes to Zionism, Palestine and anti-Semitism... As close and careful studies, these repay scrutiny by anyone interested in the political uses of discourse' - Sociology

`Billig's argument that the nature, as well as the content, of thought is a cultural product, and thus ideological, is significant and original... Billig's book is well informed and a commendable attempt at a truly social psychology... a valuable contribution to social theory' - Discourse & Society

`In this provocative and wonderfully written book, Billig offers a truly collective approach that challenges social psychologists to move beyond individualistic models of social action. His rhetorical approach has profound implications for sociolinguistics, intergroup relations, and ideology and society' - William A Corsaro, Indiana University

`In this lively collection of essays, Michael Billig demonstrates once again that he is a premier social psychologist and rhetorician' - Herbert W Simons, Temple University

`Consolidates and communicates in one place Billig's views about the role and importance of rhetoric, argumentation and ideology in the study of social psychology' - Choice

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ISBN: 9780803983328