Location

Brock University

Document Type

Paper

Start Date

15-5-1997 9:00 AM

End Date

17-5-1997 5:00 PM

Abstract

This paper develops the ideas of rhetorical psychology by applying them to some basic Freudian concepts. In so doing, the paper considers whether there might be a 'Dialogic Unconscious'. So far rhetorical psychology has tended to concentrate upon conscious thought rather than on the unconscious. It has suggested that thinking is modelled on argument and dialogue, and that rhetoric provides the means of opening up matters for thought and discussion. However, rhetoric may also provide the means for closing down topics and, thereby, provide the means of repression. It will be suggested that language is not merely expressive but it is also repressive. Moreover, the repressive aspects of language are built into the very practices of dialogue. In learning language, we learn the codes for socially appropriate ways of speaking. These must be acquired as habits, so that we learn to repress routinely the desire to transgress the codes of appropriate speech. Thus, the routine use of language provides the resources for repression. If language is repressive, then this applies equally to the language of psycho-analysis itself. Freud's famous case histories, such as that of Dora, can be re-examined, in order to see what Freud's own theory of repression was itself repressing.

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May 15th, 9:00 AM May 17th, 5:00 PM

Rhetoric and the Unconscious

Brock University

This paper develops the ideas of rhetorical psychology by applying them to some basic Freudian concepts. In so doing, the paper considers whether there might be a 'Dialogic Unconscious'. So far rhetorical psychology has tended to concentrate upon conscious thought rather than on the unconscious. It has suggested that thinking is modelled on argument and dialogue, and that rhetoric provides the means of opening up matters for thought and discussion. However, rhetoric may also provide the means for closing down topics and, thereby, provide the means of repression. It will be suggested that language is not merely expressive but it is also repressive. Moreover, the repressive aspects of language are built into the very practices of dialogue. In learning language, we learn the codes for socially appropriate ways of speaking. These must be acquired as habits, so that we learn to repress routinely the desire to transgress the codes of appropriate speech. Thus, the routine use of language provides the resources for repression. If language is repressive, then this applies equally to the language of psycho-analysis itself. Freud's famous case histories, such as that of Dora, can be re-examined, in order to see what Freud's own theory of repression was itself repressing.