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Winter 2018, 48.5, pages 479-498

Slow Circulation: The Ethics of Speed and Rhetorical Persistence

Abstract: This essay explores “viral circulation” and “slow circulation” as two alternate ethics for rhetorical decision making in civic settings. I analyze interviews with media producers from civic organizations in central Appalachia in order to illustrate the ways community and regional-based rhetorics strive for slow circulation through strategies of “rhetorical persistence” in public discourses. I argue that framing “viral” or “slow” circulation as ethical models helps us understand speed of circulation as both an ethical and rhetorical choice. The essay concludes with a discussion of ways that slow circulation offers an ethic better suited to the circulation of civic rhetorics in some community advocacy contexts.

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