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Signifying “Hillary”: Making (Political) Sense with Butler and Dewey

Signifying “Hillary”: Making (Political) Sense with Butler and Dewey Contemporary Pragmatism Vol. 10, No. 2 (December 2013), 25­47 Editions Rodopi ©2013 Erin C. Tarver Judith Butler's influential work in feminist theory is significant for its insight that sexist discourse in popular culture affects the agency and consciousness of individuals, but offers an inadequate account of how such discourse might be said to touch, shape, or affect selves. Supplementing Butler's account of signification with a Deweyan pragmatic account of meaning-making and selective emphasis enables a consistent account of the relationship between discourse and subjectivity with a robust conception of the bodily organism. An analysis of the popular discourse surrounding Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Presidential campaign demonstrates why this hybrid pragmatic/poststructuralist account is necessary. Popular political discourse tends to represent sexism and racism as encapsulated in isolated events with clearly demarcated victims and perpetrators ­ as in the case of a demonstrator at a 2008 Hillary Clinton campaign stop who held up a sign reading "Iron My Shirt." Many feminist theorists, on the other hand, maintain that sexism, racism, heterosexism and classism are institutional phenomena for which responsibility and consequences are less than simple to pinpoint. Much recent work in feminist theory has maintained that even when sexism http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Pragmatism Brill

Signifying “Hillary”: Making (Political) Sense with Butler and Dewey

Contemporary Pragmatism , Volume 10 (2): 25 – Apr 21, 2013

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Copyright 2013 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1572-3429
eISSN
1875-8185
DOI
10.1163/18758185-90000258
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Contemporary Pragmatism Vol. 10, No. 2 (December 2013), 25­47 Editions Rodopi ©2013 Erin C. Tarver Judith Butler's influential work in feminist theory is significant for its insight that sexist discourse in popular culture affects the agency and consciousness of individuals, but offers an inadequate account of how such discourse might be said to touch, shape, or affect selves. Supplementing Butler's account of signification with a Deweyan pragmatic account of meaning-making and selective emphasis enables a consistent account of the relationship between discourse and subjectivity with a robust conception of the bodily organism. An analysis of the popular discourse surrounding Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Presidential campaign demonstrates why this hybrid pragmatic/poststructuralist account is necessary. Popular political discourse tends to represent sexism and racism as encapsulated in isolated events with clearly demarcated victims and perpetrators ­ as in the case of a demonstrator at a 2008 Hillary Clinton campaign stop who held up a sign reading "Iron My Shirt." Many feminist theorists, on the other hand, maintain that sexism, racism, heterosexism and classism are institutional phenomena for which responsibility and consequences are less than simple to pinpoint. Much recent work in feminist theory has maintained that even when sexism

Journal

Contemporary PragmatismBrill

Published: Apr 21, 2013

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