I’ve been working for some years on the study of rhetoric as a distinctive medium of political action. Between 2013 and 2015 I did some research on a Leverhulme Trust project, ‘Affective Strategies in Political Rhetoric’, which drew upon the fields of rhetoric and psychosocial studies (and psychoanalysis generally) to explore speech repertoires in politics. Some of the findings from the project can be found in an article ‘Capturing Desire: Rhetorical Strategies and the Affectivity of Discourse‘. More recently, the issues originally explored in that project have been developed into a short book, Psychopolitics of Speech (transcript, 2019) which reflects on public speech in light of Lacanian ideas about subjectivity. Here I am especially interested in the relation between speech and violence, hate, and other kinds of ‘excessive’ rhetoric. The relation of speech to the body (explored in phenomenology, for instance) is a strong theme in that book and I hope to investigate that theme some more in the future.

I am currently working on a short book on Hegemony (with Polity Press) that explores the value and significance of that concept for political theory and analysis. But I am also  exploring the relation of rhetoric to hermeneutics, fascism, and (as suggested above) the presence (and absence) of the body in political life.


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