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Winter 2009, 39:1, pages 46-72

Black Jewish Identity Conflict: A Divided Universal Audience and the Impact of Dissociative Disruption

DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.1080/02773940802555530


This article makes a two-part argument. First, I show how a dispute over authentic Jewish identity demonstrates the limits of The New Rhetoric's "dissociation" and "universal audience" as tools for the expansion of existing identities, communicating across particular audiences, or resolving conflict when identity is the issue at stake. Through careful analysis of the 1971 Black Jewish identity conflict, I then develop a new theoretical concept, "dissociative disruption," which names and theorizes an interim step between "breaking the links" and full "dissociative restructuring" to better account for the ways power and authority affect the relative rhetorical possibilities for particular rhetors and audiences.

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