Constitutive Rhetoric in the Age of Neoliberalism

  • David W. Seitz
  • Amanda Berardi Tennant
Part of the Rhetoric, Politics and Society book series (RPS)


Constitutive rhetoric is a theory of speech regarding the ability of language and symbols to create a collective identity for an audience. Focusing on the emancipatory power of newly constituted identities, Seitz and Tennant explore how constitutive rhetoric functions in a neoliberal world, where generating identification around democratic principles such as equality and freedom is an increasingly futile proposition. The authors advance Jacques Rancière’s political theory of “dissensus” as an innovative conceptual framework for understanding the nature, limits, and rich potential of democratic constitutive rhetorical action as it actually occurs today. Through a brief concluding case study, Seitz and Tennant uncover the ways neoliberalism complicates traditional conceptions and practices of constitutive rhetoric and illustrate how Rancierean “dissensus” functions as a much-needed alternative.


Urban Farm Collective Identity Great Recession Political Identity Police Order 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • David W. Seitz
    • 1
  • Amanda Berardi Tennant
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Communication Arts and SciencesPennsylvania State UniversityMont AltoUSA
  2. 2.Department of EnglishCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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