Signifying "Hillary": Making Sense with Butler and Dewey

Contemporary Pragmatism 10 (2):25-47 (2013)
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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.

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Erin C. Tarver
Emory University

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