Constitutive Rhetoric in the Age of Neoliberalism

David W. Seitz, Amanda Berardi Tennant

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRhetoric, Politics and Society
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages26
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameRhetoric, Politics and Society
VolumePart F749
ISSN (Print)2947-5147
ISSN (Electronic)2947-5155

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Communication
  • Cultural Studies
  • Political Science and International Relations

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