Professor Michael Carrithers: Inventing Third Persons and Moving Them Around
This is the second lecture in the Rhetoric of Personhood Seminar Series.
Many communicative practices - among them the social sciences, journalism, and literature - have in part a documentary purpose, that is, the representation of some situation or stream of events to a public.
Such documentaries often focus on some category of persons, often represented as types in the third person plural, and seek to make those persons intelligible as characters in a more or less realistic plotline. However, the sheer eventfulness of social life ensures that documentation must always be adapted to new and unprecedented
circumstances, and must select or adapt such rhetorical resources as are available to meet the descriptive challenge. Examples will include 9/11, Gertrude Stein on occupied France, and a German ethnography.