Psychoanalytic Approaches to Rhetoric

Psychoanalytic approaches to rhetoric engage two pivotal commitments for the rhetorical traditions and rhetorical methods: a commitment to interpreting rhetorical discourse by the meanings at play in it and commitment to doing so with near exclusive reference to context. Psychoanalysis engages the rhetorical tradition by arguing that meaning does not exhaustively define a rhetorical situation and by arguing that that the grounds for interpreting rhetorical action are not reducible to context. In a psychoanalytic approach to rhetoric, the manifest content of meaning is suspect because the conditions for the production of meaning are always somewhat counterfactual: subjects do not simply embrace the meaning of a particular discourse at face value, but instead, meaning negotiates a relationship to unconscious processes that operate in advance ...

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