Hawhee Agonism & Arete notes

Hawhee, Debra Agonism and Arete Philosophy and Rhetoric, VOl. 35, No. 3 2002 185-207 Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 185 “…[A]thletics made available an agonistic model for early rhetors to follow as they developed their art” . Athlios was a struggle for a prize Agon is a gathering or assembly—the emphasis is upon the encounter as opposed to the division or the prize (Hawhee 186) “So the word agon suggests movement through struggle, a productive training practice wherein subjective production takes place through the encounter itself” (Hawhee Agone 186). The emphasis here is on the encounter, the process, and not the result. The skill necessary for this require kairotic ability to adapt to each individual and unique situation—it is not a set of rote skills. “Taking seriously rhetoric’s emergence in the context of the agon requires a reconfiguration of rhetoric as an agonistic encounter. That is, for the sophists at least, agonism produces rhetoric as a gathering of forces— cultural, bodily, and discursive, thus problematizing the easy portrayal of rhetoric as telos-driven persuasion or as a means to reach consensus. As a result, the sophistic rhetorical exemplar was the athlete in action” (Hawhee Agone 186). Telos: the end of a goal-oriented effort The emphasis is upon engagement and the very nature of the process of engagement is that it generates change in and of itself. See if this links into the Burke and Dewey article/ assertions By engaging in discourse as a public the public can change itself. 187 Arete at the heart of agon Arete linked closely to good, glory honor and love of honor Arete required outside reception and acknowledgement “In other words, one cannot just be virtuous, one must become virtuosity by performing and hence embodying virtuous actions in public…Arete was thus not a telos, but rather a constant call to action that produced particular habits. As a repeated/repeatable style of living, arête was therefore a performative, bodily phenomenon, depending on visibility—on making manifest qualities associated with

Hawhee Agonism & Arete notes
virtuosity. As such, it was produced through observation, imitation, and learning” (Hawhee Agonism 187). 187-188 My speculation: If arête was external and it depended upon outside forces, then it was an economics of attention. Just like people are trying to get hits on their sites or viewers for their videos, the Greeks were attempting to build up credibility, fame, and popularity in their community by engaging in certain kinds of actions. This links to media, attention, and Lanham’s text. 192 “What matters for arête, then, is not the victory per se but rather the hunt for the victory” (Hawhee Agonism 192). Italics hers. 193 Agones gave the chance for men to show the effects of their questing 194 “In other words, agonism denotes an encounter, the production of a response, and a subsequent change in both substances” (Hawhee Agonism 194). You could see this in the classroom, with students, presentations at conferences, an d in a gazillion other academic examples 199-201 Wrestling and rhetoric 201 Discussion of how sophists forced a confrontation between old and new modes of education Aristophanes clouds showcased the confrontation 202 Polarities (just like Lanham) between old school—good old days, customs and civic good, discipline and self-control—and new school sophists Old school associated with custom; new school associated with nature Much like the encounter between the industrial-ag custom of institutionalized schooling and the newer modes of communication, attention, and commere 203 In Clouds, it is not the victory that matters; instead, it is the agon itself—the encounter which matters It is the agon which brings the two training styles, the two modes of education together (203 Hawhee Agonism). It is the shared node

Hawhee Agonism & Arete notes

205 What both styles/schools have in common is the agon, the competition in training The very struggle that forms and shapes the situation “As this analysis suggests, arête was a matter of actions and could only be demonstrated repeatedly (not won)” (Hawhee Agonism 205). Very clear links between the Lanham oscillation, the movement between—instead, it is the endless tension and struggle between the two poles The presence of the tension is often what matters.