The aristotelian categories by Gillespie, C. M.

By Gillespie, C. M.

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By Gillespie, C. M.

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Slavoj Žižek, The Plague of Fantasies Communication does not take place through subjects but through affects. —Slavoj Žižek, Tarrying with the Negative T he study of discourse as it has emerged in the last fifty years is strikingly diverse and interdisciplinary. It includes, according to Deborah Schiffrin’s taxonomy, speech act theory, interactional sociolinguistics, ethnographies of communication, pragmatics, conversation analysis, and variationist discourse analysis (we could also add critical discourse analysis, narrative analysis, discursive psychology, and more) and ranges from philosophy to linguistics to anthropology, and everywhere in between (6–11; cf.

But words alone cannot suffice, for they matter insofar as they create the possibility for relations. This extends the notion of “communication” into the realms of the transsymbolic, the incommunicable, and affect, and it extends the notion of “relations” far beyond simple notions of communicative agreement or communities of consensus. Words become social relations, and social relations become words. No transcendence would allow us to escape this endless reflexivity and intersubjectivity. The immanent practice that most directly faces this truth is rhetoric.

But lately I have been thinking about what King might have meant as I work through my own writing, as I pursue the continual work of drafting and revising. What I am most struck with, working on this first chapter and its webs of psychoanalytic thought, is the strange (unheimlich) resonance that emerges from the idea of revision. We all know the mundane version of revision from the process movement, almost as a mantra: after drafting, revision. Less obvious is the psychoanalytic idea of revision as part of the dream work described by Freud in The Interpretation of Dreams.

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