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ENGELS, Jeremy

FALL 2010, 40:4, pages 303 - 325

The Politics of Resentment and the Tyranny of the Minority: Rethinking Victimage for Resentful Times

Abstract: The victimage ritual is a familiar concept to rhetorical scholars. Victimage, as understood by Kenneth Burke and Robert L. Ivie, is a curative rhetoric aimed at easing the guilt associated with symbolic life. By putting Friedrich Nietzsche’s theory of the victimage ritual as enumerated in On the Genealogy of Morals in conversation with Burke and Ivie, this essay expands received wisdom by arguing that victimage in presidential rhetoric is often as much about prolonging resentment and guilt as it is at easing these emotions.

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