Negative Discourse Analysis and utopias of the political
This paper puts forward an argument about the relation between utopian thought and political discourse. It demonstrates how utopias frame normative discourse in general and political discourse in particular. The argument is informed by Kenneth Burke’s theory of the negative command and its place at the basis of all human language. I argue that utopias are necessarily based in the hortatory negative and are, in literary terms, like religious texts in general being ‘words about words’ designed to coordinate “the tribe”. Burke calls such texts ‘logological’. The argument I put forward here points to a rapidly crumbling utopia that has beset much of the world and all of the West since at least the Reagan-Thatcher era in which a new corporatist political economy was given global impetus.
- 2.Burke, dramatism, and the negative
- 2.1A brief note on the semantic range of negativity
- 3.Utopian theory as political criticism
- 4.Negative Discourse Analysis of More’s Utopia
- 4.1Informational negatives
- 4.2Dramatistic negatives
- 4.3Utopian rules and laws
- 4.4The Utopian “No”
- 5.Conclusion: The Utopian negative and implications of NDA
Published online: 19 February 2019
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