Bodies of Meaning

Studies on Language, Labor, and Liberation

By David McNally

Subjects: Philosophy Of Language
Series: SUNY series in Radical Social and Political Theory
Paperback : 9780791447369, 277 pages, November 2000
Hardcover : 9780791447352, 277 pages, November 2000

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Table of contents

Acknowledgments

Note on Citations

Introduction

1
Nietzsche, Darwin, and the Postmodern Fetish of Language

2
Forgetting the Body: Linguistic Economies from Saussure to Derrida

3
Bodies that Talk: Sex, Tools, Language, and Human Culture

4
Body, Speech, and History: Language and Materialism in Voloshinov and Bakhtin

5
Corporeal Reason: Language, History, and the Body in Walter Benjamin's Dialectics of Awakening

Conclusion

Notes

Index

Challenges postmodernist theories of language and politics which detach language from human bodies and their material practices.

Description

Bodies of Meaning presents a vigorous challenge to postmodernist theories of language and politics which detach language from human bodies and their material practices. Beginning with the 'historical bodies' theorized by Marx, Darwin, and Freud, McNally develops an alternative account of language which draws on the work of Mikhail Bakhtin and Walter Benjamin and recent contributions to materialist feminism. In bringing the body back into language, this book makes a major contribution to current debates in social and political theory.

David McNally is Associate Professor of Political Science at York University, Toronto, and the author of Political Economy and the Rise of Capitalism: A Reinterpretation and Against the Market: Political Economy, Market Socialism and the Marxist Critique.

Reviews

"McNally performs not only the service of 'supplementing' the recent discussion of the body, but in fact he completely reframes the question—to the point where, I would argue, the relevance of postmodern theories of the body will need to be shown in relation to McNally's argument, not the other way around. This book is thoroughly compelling, very well written and argued, and indeed a pleasure to read. " — Bill Martin, author of Matrix and line: Derrida and the possibilities of postmodern social theory

"McNally's argument that the body as configured in postmodern theory is really the 'other' of a new idealism is provocative and well grounded. " — Diane Raymond, author of Existentialism and the Philosophical Tradition