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Stasis Theory in Joe Paterno’s Legacy

July 23, 2015 by Olivia Kathleen Richards   

Prompt: After reading chapter seven of the Rhetoric and Civic Life text, discuss how stasis theory might work to discover or to deepen the “framing questions” for your chosen controversy.

My group includes Maddie, Matt and myself. Our topic area is the legacy of the late Joe Paterno. We plan to use stasis theory to deepen our framing questions in the investigation of our topic. By using the stases, one can find help in determining the argument at hand and its foundation. This can refer to the stance that someone agrees with. Also, it seems to be the point at which two individuals or parties agree to disagree.

The stasis seems to be relatively easy to identify in our case. Side A would be that displaying Joe Paterno’s contributions to Penn State football and the University as a whole would be offensive. Side B would be the opinion that displaying his contributions would not be offensive.

Some of our framing questions include

  • Would displaying his contributions effect or offend anyone?
  • What is valued most, tradition and culture or the decisions made by the Penn State Board of Directors?
  • Jurisdiction of Board vs. NCAA over Penn State?
  • Is the line of separation the relation to football or is it just random decision making? Some examples of the line of separation include football related and non-football related pieces of his legacy that have come and gone.

The process of asking questions requires rhetors to determine the answers to these questions:

  • the conjecture or facts
  • the definition of the argument or meaning of the issues
  • the policy or plan of action
  • the quality and seriousness of the issue

It is interesting that both sides of the argument continue the discussion about the current state of Joe Paterno’s legacy in Happy Valley. The point of stasis can clearly be identified.


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