Category: Analysis Essay
Rhetorical Analysis

Urbanization led to numerous consequences, and it is difficult to decide whether they are negative or positive. On the one hand, it led to the growth of the economy and people’s welfare. On the other hand, it triggered the centralization of life in one place. Sprawl is one of the major problems big cities have to tackle. Modern cities smother in vehicles, and this phenomenon is called sprawl. In the article “Sprawl and Urban Growth”, Glaeser and Kahn discuss the problem of the absence of physical space between people in big towns. There are four main reasons that make cities convenient for living, namely easiness to transport goods, the ability to get fast from one place to another, not long distances and the presence of a car in every family. The author of the article states that sprawl is ubiquitous and is still continuing to grow. It is possible to say that this situation is the result of a governmental mistake and bad urban planning. However, the writer thinks that it is just a natural result of contemporary technological civilization and urban style of life. Glaeser and Kahn appeal to logos to make the narration easy to understand, structured and serious. Among the most vivid examples of logos in this article are its structure, ways of developing ideas, and genetic fallacies.

The content of the analyzed article is easy to summarize due to its logical structure. The authors use cause and effect rhetorical strategy to show the development of the problem from the very beginning. It is possible to describe the entire narration in the following way. From an economic point of view, the problem of sprawl is the sign of serious improvement in the quality of living. However, there is a negative side to this situation as well. It is true that the number of people who drive cars is actively increasing nowadays, but the number of those who are not able to afford their own cars is still big. As a result, this economical heterogeneity leads to problems in society and aggravates the gap between different economic classes.

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There are certain problems connected with a big number of cars in the streets. Glaeser and Kahn highlight several negative issues that are characteristic of sprawl. First of all, a big number of cars lead to serious traffic problems like traffic congestion. Second, sprawl causes environmental problems by polluting the atmosphere. However, the situation has its positive aspects and they are mentioned in the article. For example, car owners have the possibility to buy a bigger and cheaper house in the suburb and drive to the office every day. Moreover, there are no traffic problems out of the cities, so it is possible to drive long distances quickly. The author of the article notes that the problem of sprawl can be partly solved by implementing zoning laws. For example, making the city center closed for cars can make the problem less urgent.

The authors used several linguistic strategies to develop their ideas. First, they describe the overall situation with the sprawl and active urbanization in the United States. Second, they use narration and process analysis to show the importance of the problem and help one to understand the nature of the issue. It is possible to state that the article is based on cause and effect analysis and data processing since there is a big quantity of mathematical formulas in the article. They present the authors’ conclusions about social consequences of sprawl, productivity and agglomeration consequences of it, its impact on the environment and other issues. It is necessary to emphasize that the narration in “Sprawl and Urban Growth” is precise and general ideas are supported by the numbers and the statistics in the majority of cases.

The author uses mostly logos to appeal to the readers. Logical argumentation is the basis of the scientific economical article. The style of the writing does not suppose appealing to emotions that is why pathos is excluded from the rhetorical devices used in it. Ethos addresses the reader’s logic more than their emotions and is based on the credibility of the provided argumentation. Moreover, there are certain examples of genetic fallacies that belong both to logos and to ethos.

The text is organized in a logical way that is characteristic of a serious scientific article. The structure of “Sprawl and Urban Growth” is logical and that is why easy to understand. In fact, it features all main components of the academic work, namely abstract, keywords, introduction, plan of the paper, acknowledgments, and appendix. It is possible to suppose that the article was done on the basis of the thesis and was written for the scientific presentation for several reasons. First, it is based on more thorough and profound research and is a gist of a more detailed paper. Second, Glaeser and Kahn refer to other works they have published in the course of the discussion. Third, the article is taken from the scientific journal and, despite its complicated structure with categories and sub-categories, its content relates only to one aspect of urbanization problem, which is the sprawl.

It is evident even from the first examination of the article that it is full of mathematical formulas. Thus, a close reading shows that equations are on every page of “Sprawl and Urban Growth”. It is possible to assume that the authors included this information to make the narration more explicit and full of precise examples. In fact, the hypothesis of transportation costs is easier to explain with the usage of those costs. Furthermore, the questions like whether the sprawl is good or bad can be solved with the so-called examples from life, but such way of persuading the audience belongs to pathos, and it is not appropriate in the scientific circles. That is why numbers and logos are better in this case.

Despite the strict logical structure of the article, “Sprawl and Urban Growth” is a bright example of the genetic fallacy. The characteristic decreases the level of credibility of this piece of writing and makes it difficult to perceive.

It is necessary to define what genetic fallacy is. A genetic fallacy is also called the fallacy of virtue or the fallacy of origins. In fact, it is based on irrelevance and lack of logical structure of the text, where the conclusions are made on the origin of the issue but not the context where it is used. It supposes that the notion transfers the meaning from the context where it was previously used and attaches a new connotation. The genetic fallacy does not allow one to assess the notion used in the text according to its objective merit. It is not based either on the false nor true claim. Thus, the notion can be true if it is analyzed out of the context, but in the text, where it is used, it is absolutely irrelevant.

The authors of the article use the idea that “something is right because it traditionally belongs to this place”. Glaeser and Kahn refer to the past of big urbanized cities as to something that determines the further sequence of events. Thus, they make numerous parallels with the past. For example, they write that in 2003, the number of baggers in American agglomeration and the number of their arrests increased greatly and 511 people were incarcerated during that campaign. However, the argument does not have any logical relevance to the main idea of the article. Hereby, it is possible to say that it was meant to show that poverty increases, the social welfare decreases and that is why crime is everywhere. Apparently, things will become more pessimistic if the situation with sprawl and social injustice do not stop developing in this direction. In fact, this parallel lacks logic, and the connection between sprawl and arrests of panhandlers is unclear.

Genetic fallacy makes the text difficult to read and annihilates all evidence that seems to be logical in the text because it is based on the wrong context. Inappropriate arguments also do not add credibility to the article. Apparently, this rhetorical device might be appropriate in the postmodern text, where the main idea is to show the instability of the material world. However, in the scientific economical text, it prevents the author from formulating the message.

In the article, Glaeser and Kahn try to express the idea that active urban growth has taken the form of sprawl. People live in high density, earn more money to buy cars and prefer driving to walking, which leads to traffic problems and increases in the economic gap between different classes. The authors use a variety of rhetorical devices to communicate this message to their target audience. As the audience is formed mainly by scientists and economists, the authors use logos to make the article more effective. The article is an example of a clear logical structure that makes the process of understanding its content easier. The logical development of the ideas also belongs to rhetorical devices. The authors use mainly numbers, equations and statistics in their narration and appeal mainly to logical thinking of their readers. However, it is possible to find certain examples of genetic fallacies that belong to logos by their form but not by their content. In general, the application of logos and previously mentioned rhetorical devices makes the discourse more effective and persuasive.


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