Rhetorical Theories of Persuasion:
Theory of Identification and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Campaign Video
The theory of identification is one of the rhetorical theories of persuasion. Under the theory of identifications, there are several key assumptions. One assumption is that the speaker has at least one quality that is similar to one of the qualities of the audience. At the least, the speaker must have the ability to make it appear to the audience that they have one similar characteristic. Another assumption is that being able to identify with the traits of the speaker can persuade the audience to agree with the speaker’s argument. This means that the audience is receptive to the speaker’s portrayals of his or her traits. In all of these,…show more content… Finally, identification comes in full circle when the audience members are able to relate with the projected qualities or beliefs (Burke and Zappen 336). This relational process is contingent on whether the projected qualities or beliefs are similar or the same with the qualities or beliefs that the audience members possess. In other words, audience members must have a prior understanding of their own qualities and beliefs.
Symbolism is another concept in the theory of identification. In a nutshell, symbolism, as its name suggests, uses symbols in order to represent ideas or values. In theory of identification, symbols are used in order to compel the audience to identify with the values or ideas that the symbols stand for (Taboada and Mann 571). In a sense, the meaning of symbols may vary from one person to another. Nevertheless, given the proper context, the meaning of certain symbols may be established with more clarity. This implies that symbols are also able to project certain identities. For example, a monument may elicit upon the viewer the memories of a bitter event in a particular community and the lessons that the event continue to bring to the same community. When applied to a larger group, symbols may induce cooperation among their intended audience (Taboada and Mann 575). In other words, the audience members are not only able to identify with the symbol but also with one another. Indeed,