Psychopolitics of Speech: Uncivil Discourse and the Excess of Desire

Martin, James. 2019. Psychopolitics of Speech: Uncivil Discourse and the Excess of Desire. Bielefeld, Germany: Transcript Verlag. ISBN 9783837639193 [Book]

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Abstract or Description

The human capacity for speech is forever celebrated as evidence of its innate civility. Why, then, is public discourse often – and today more than ever, it would seem – so uncivil, even delusional? The reason, argues James Martin in this timely book, lies in the way speech works to organise desire. More than knowledge or rational interests, public speech services an unconscious urge for a lost enjoyment, stimulating an excess in subjectivity that moves us in body and mind.

James Martin draws upon the work of psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan as well as other Continental thinkers to set out a new approach to the analysis of rhetoric and answer the troubling question of whether civil discourse can ever hope to escape its obscene underside.

Item Type:



speech, public discourse, public speech, rhetoric, desire, uncivil

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Politics > Research Unit in Contemporary Political Theory (RUCPT)


25 July 2019

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

27 Mar 2019 15:52

Last Modified:

20 Aug 2019 14:28


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