Rhetoric and competition

In examining both readings from Bateson and Hutcheon I found that both of them highlight the negatives of competition. Bateson and Hutcheon both discuss the nature of competition; however, they approach the discussion differently. Coming from a persuasive stance, Bateson tries to impart her ideas to her audience so as to convince them of her perspective. Whereas, Hutcheon opens more of a discussion in her paper, an environment of discourse with her readers about the idea of competition.


Unsurprising with her criticism of the “wolfish” nature of competition recently, Hutcheon’s paper is facilitated towards a conversation about competition more so than a pointed argument. Although, that is not to say that Hutcheon does not make her opinion and stance clear in her paper. Often Hutcheon discusses of “critique scholarship” and how that aspect of competition can be negative in the academy. Expanding on the idea of critique scholarship, Hutcheon draws from different sources and backgrounds throughout history to add dimension to her point. A very intriguing thing that I find Hutcheon does often in her paper is bringing in ideas that oppose hers; which adds a nice contrast and complexity to her argument and even strengthens it at points when she speaks of whether it is possible to have a community sharing knowledge without being combative.


Hutcheon reflects on the hypocrisy in her peers and how the academy has very much become a zero sum game where one must top another for one’s “profits” to be maximized. Despite intellectuals appearing to be individual they still participate in citational practices that are collaborative and contribute to dialogue; so Hutcheon asserts that they should soon recognize and support the “climate of positive copresence”. Not unlike Bateson when she states that it is only through the recognition of one’s dependence on others that one can erect the most positive change in one’s environment and society.


After reading from Bateson and Hutcheon I feel my perspective on competition has made almost a one-eighty as one might say. Although to be perfectly honest, I found Hutcheon’s paper to be the most influential towards this change of thought. This being because Hutcheon aimed to have her readers actually think and consider the ideas she was proposing, rather than to simply persuade someone towards her stance.

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