All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Bruce McComiskey

Advisory Committee Members

David Basilico

Eduardo Neiva

Cynthia Ryan

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences


The idea of competition underlies most all Western cultural practices making conflict inevitable, but understanding the world in terms of constant, perpetual competition limits the development of lasting, adaptive, and constructive solutions to human problems and conflicts. While competition serves the vital functions of quality control and the identification of best practices, the function of “Competition” as a god term betrays a misunderstanding of both the value and process of competition as an instrument, and demonstrates how human conceptualization, mediated by language, can direct the development and acquisition of knowledge into narrow channels and exclude ways of understanding that are inconsistent with prior interpretation of experience. The challenge herein is to bring a balance of dialectical cooperation back into rhetoric by analyzing common conceptualizations of social conflict and developing a method for productively resolving such conflicts using rhetorical theory, nonagonistic argument, and cognitive linguistics.



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