Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Critical methods and ideology: An international perspective


This article describes approaches to rhetorical criticism used in recent years, reviews the Critical Systems perspective, and examines the relevance of Critical Systems to rhetorical criticism. The argument is that rhetorical criticism must advance the position for improving the human condition, not simply advance our understanding of human communication.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Bitzer, L. F., and Black, E. (eds.) (1971).The Prospect of Rhetoric, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

  2. Black, E. (1965).Rhetorical Criticism: A Study in Method, Macmillan, New York.

  3. Bormann, E. G. (1985).The Force of Fantasy: Restoring the American Dream, Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale.

  4. Brockett, M. A. (1990).A Burkean Analysis of the Use of Islamic Symbols in the Rhetoric of Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini: 1963 to 1982, Dissertation, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio.

  5. Burke, K. (1950).A Rhetoric of Motives, Prentice-Hall, New York.

  6. Burke, K. (1983). The rhetoric of Hitler's “Battle.” In Golden, J. L., Berquist, G. F., and Coleman, W. E. (eds.),The Rhetoric of Western Thought, Kendall/Hunt, Dubuque, pp. 329–342.

  7. Campbell, K. K., and Jamieson, K. H. (1990).Deeds Done in Words: Presidential Rhetoric and the Genres of Governance, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

  8. Fisher, W. R. (1987).Human Communication as Narration: Toward a Philosophy of Reason, Value, and Action, University of South Carolina Press, Columbia.

  9. Flood, R. L. (1990). Liberating systems theory: Towards critical systems thinking.Hum. Relat. 43, 49–76.

  10. Flood, R. L., and Ulrich, W. (1990). Testament to conversations on critical systems thinking between two systems practitioners.Syst. Pract. 3, 7–29.

  11. Griffin, L. M. (1951). The rhetoric of historical movements.Q. J. Speech 38, 184–188.

  12. Hartley, K. C. (1991). Freedom's discourse and social power in East Germany. Paper presented at the 60th anniversary conference of the Central States Communication Association, Chicago.

  13. Heisey, D. R. (1986). Reagan and Mitterrand respond to international crisis: Creating versus transcending appearances.West. J. Speech Commun. 50, 325–335.

  14. Heisey, D. R. (1988). President Ronald Reagan's apologia on the Iran-Contra affair. In Ryan, H. R. (ed.),Oratorical Encounters: Selected Studies and Sources of Twentieth-Century Political Accusations and Apologies, Greenwood Press, New York, pp. 281–305.

  15. Heisey, D. R. (1991). Ideology in recent American foreign policy rhetoric. Paper presented at the Temple University's Twelfth Annual Discourse Analysis Conference, Philadelphia.

  16. Heisey, D. R., and Trebing, J. D. (1983). A comparison of the rhetorical visions and strategies of the Shah's White Revolution and the Ayatollah's Islamic Revolution.Commun. Monogr. 50, 158–174.

  17. Heisey, D. R., and Trebing, J. D. (1986). Authority and legitimacy: A rhetorical case study of the Iranian Revolution.Commun. Monogr. 53, 295–310.

  18. Ivie, R. L. (1980). Images of savagery in American justifications for war.Commun. Monogr. 47, 279–294.

  19. Jackson, M. C. (1990). Beyond a system of systems methodologies.J. Operat. Res. Soc. 41, 657–668.

  20. Midgley, G. (1989a). Critical systems: The theory and practice of partitioning methodologies. InProceedings of the 33rd annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences,Edinburgh, Scotland, pp. 262–274.

  21. Midgley, G. (1989b). Critical systems and the problem of pluralism.Cybernet. Syst. 20, 219–231.

  22. Rowland, R. C. (1989). On limiting the narrative paradigm: Three case studies.Communi. Monogr. 56, 39–54.

  23. Rushing, J. H., and Frentz, T. S. (1991). Integrating ideology and archetype in rhetorical criticism.Q. J. Speech 77, 385–406.

  24. Wander, P. (1984). The rhetoric of American foreign policy.Q. J. Speech 70, 339–361.

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Heisey, D.R. Critical methods and ideology: An international perspective. Systems Practice 5, 215–223 (1992).

Download citation

Key words

  • critical methods
  • ideology
  • rhetorical criticism
  • critical systems thinking
  • international
  • political
  • communication