Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Antonio de Velasco

Committee Member

Sandra Sarkela

Committee Member

James Fickle

Committee Member

Craig Stewart


The fall of the global economy in 1929 set into motion a number of events, which would later influence scholars in rhetoric and other fields. While anarchists were active during this decade, attention is rarely drawn to their contribution. Anarchism is interesting rhetorically, because the term's orgins, past usage, and current usage often present competing definitions of meaning. This creates a definitional rupture in which the meaning of the term must constantly be negotiated. In my dissertation I argue that in order for the term "anarchism" to be truly comprehended, scholars must acknowledge its rhetorical character, which resides in the definitional rupture of this term. By chronologically tracing the development of Vanguard Group's use of the word "anarchism" in 1930s publication, I address how they use rhetorical ways of defining to approach the challenges of how to apply limits to what is and is not anarchist rhetoric, redefine previous notions of anarchism, and create a form of rhetoric that would continue productive in the current situation. The most revealing aspect of the analysis is that anarchism functions as its own form of rhetorical critique. The ability of Vanguard Group to employ a definition of "anarchism" that was embraced by the members of their group, their readership, and the next generation of anarchist suggests the definitional strategies used by Vanguard Group to meet the challenges posed by the definitional rupture also allowed them to adapt to the constraints of a rapidly changing rhetorical situation. The inconsistency in defining anarchism from one volume of Vanguard to another also indicates anarchist rhetors are not confined to the same constraints of consistency within an identity as other political rhetors. Due to their unapologetic critique of even their own cultural institutions, Vanguard Group was not constrained by the same rhetorical limitations of maintaining a consistent identity within a quickly changing global world. The continued presence of the definitional rupture suggests that this rupture prompted definitional strategies employed by Vanguard Group that could be useful to other anarchists, and perhaps even other marginalized group, in retaining at least minimal control of the terms connect to self-identity.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.