The Incitement: An Account of Language, Power, and Fascism

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Fascism is currently resurgent in national governments and enhanced popular acceptance of fascist ideas. But preconditions of fascism may also lie in ordinary language or speech. I draw from twentieth-century structuralism to support this claim. An account of how modern institutions exercise control over entire populations by inciting individuals to speak versions of truth about themselves to presiding authorities forms the centerpiece of my analysis. I define this rhetorical and political phenomenon as the incitement. My analysis emphasizes Michel Foucault’s works while identifying complementary arguments from other thinkers in the structuralist context (like Claude Lévi-Strauss, Roland Barthes, or Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari) as well as contemporary figures (such as Giorgio Agamben, Michelle Alexander, Judith Butler, and Ibram X. Kendi). I conclude by highlighting avenues for future research on the incitement and latent fascism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-376
Number of pages16
JournalRhetoric Society Quarterly
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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