Agonism In The Academy: Surviving The Argument Culture Summary
Tannen supports these claims by using a variety of appeals in her attempt to persuade her peers to be weary of the negative connotation associated with a culture of divisiveness; as a scholar of linguistics, Tannen is aware of the dire consequences with alienating certain students from the educational process and how detrimental this is to the human spirit.
One of the strategies that Tannen employs to build her ethos, her credibility, is through the use of precedent---the repeated citation of scholarly examples and historical references. In this way Tannen is able to build on the argument that “agonism” or society’s pursued of education has become a “ritualized combat” and endemic in the academic arena. In describing “agonism” as a “metaphorical battle,” in which students and scholars alike are taught to engage combative, confrontational arguments rather than to seek an analytical discussion approach to education, Tannen references cultural linguist Walter Ong in which he also describes “agonism” as a ‘ceremonial combat’. A habitual “programed” approach to intellectual growth (37). She continues on to explain that, “agonism” does not necessarily refer to a “disagreement” or a “vigorous dispute” but rather a scenario in which “two opposing” sides