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Rhetoric, Embodiment, and the Ethos of Surveillance: Student Bodies in the American High School investigates the rhetorical tension between controlling student bodies and educating student minds. The book is a rhetorical analysis of the policies and procedures that govern life in contemporary American high schools; it also discusses the rhetorical effects of high-security, high-surveillance school buildings. It uncovers various metaphors that emerge from a close reading of the system, such as students' claims that "school is a prison." Jennifer Young concludes that many of the policies governing contemporary American high schools have come to rhetorically operate as a "discourse of default" that works against the highest aims of education, and she offers a method of effecting a cultural shift for going forward. Specifically, Young calls for an explicit application of intentional rhetoric to match discourse to audience and suggests that the development of empathy as a core value within the high school might be more effective in keeping students safe than the architectural and technological approaches we currently employ.
Jennifer Young is assistant professor of English at Tiffin University.