Chaput, Catherine. (2010). Rhetorical circulation in late capitalism: Neoliberalism and the overdetermination of affective energy.” Philosophy and Rhetoric, 43(1), 1–25.
Chaput critiques the situated/situation premise within rhetoric as enabling neoliberalist ideologies to operate uninterrogated within them and poses rhetorical circulation, in its insistence on moving between spaces, as an alternative.
Keywords: affect, capital, materiality, neoliberalism, rhetoric, rhetorical theory, theory
“Conceptualizing discursive practices as a form of labor rather than a form of political signiﬁ cation sidesteps anxiety about well-chosen language and emphasizes the life-aﬃ rming activity involved in deciphering issues, inventing paths through those issues, and communicating new ideas to others” (p. 2).
“Put diﬀerently, security converts human beings into self-entrepreneurs whose freely chosen education, work, and leisure decisions operate instinctually according to the economics of risk and reward. Such a schema no longer enforces appropriate subjectivities (normalization) but regulates the point at which individual actions impinge on the statistically favored rates of population success (normation)” (p. 5).
“From this perspective, rhetoric is not an isolated instance or even a series of instances but a circulation of exchanges, the whole of which govern our individual and collective decisions. Understanding rhetoric as circulating within an overdetermined ecological space helps illuminate the biopolitical reaches of contemporary capital, while the social connectivity of aﬀ ective energy produced through communicative labor helps explain the persuasive capacity of these reaches” (p. 8).
“The rhetorical situation, that is, makes rhetoricians comfortable within the disciplinary status quo of rhetorical production understood as transpiring within discrete sociohistorical, political, and cultural situations. Th e negative aﬀ ectivity of the rhetorical situation— its organization and interpretation of life structures in terms of ﬁ xed origins—stems, in part, from its reproduction of philosophical divisions: materiality and consciousness; reason and emotion; objects and subjects; past and future; the situated place and the open space” (p. 18).
“In the rhetorical circulation model, success derives from a better understanding of diﬀ erently situated positions and an enhanced ability to engage diﬀ erently situated people, processes that open dialogue rather than win debates” (p. 19).