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University of Pittsburgh Press
Acts of Enjoyment: Rhetoric, Zizek, and the Return of the Subject

Acts of Enjoyment: Rhetoric, Zizek, and the Return of the Subject

by Thomas Rickert


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Why are today's students not realizing their potential as critical thinkers? Although educators have, for two decades, incorporated contemporary cultural studies into the teaching of composition and rhetoric, many students lack the powers of self-expression that are crucial for effecting social change. Acts of Enjoyment presents a critique of current pedagogies and introduces a psychoanalytical approach in teaching composition and rhetoric. Thomas Rickert builds upon the advances of cultural studies and its focus on societal trends and broadens this view by placing attention on the conscious and subconscious thought of the individual. By introducing the cultural theory work of Slavoj Zizek, Rickert seeks to encourage personal and social invention—rather than simply following a course of unity, equity, or consensus that is so prevalent in current writing instruction. He argues that writing should not be treated as a simple skill, as a naïve self expression, or as a tool for personal advancement, but rather as a reflection of social and psychical forces, such as jouissance (enjoyment/sensual pleasure), desire, and fantasy-creating a more sophisticated, panoptic form. The goal of the psychoanalytical approach is to highlight the best pedagogical aspects of cultural studies to allow for well-rounded individual expression, ultimately providing the tools necessary to address larger issues of politics, popular culture, ideology, and social transformation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780822959625
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
Publication date: 05/18/2007
Series: Pitt Comp Literacy Culture Series
Edition description: 1
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Thomas Rickert is assistant professor of English at Purdue University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     ix
Prospective     1
On Belatedness and the Return of the Subject; or The View from What Will Have Been     8
Toward a Neo-Lacanian Theory of Discourse     33
In the Funhouse: Mirroring Subjects and Objects     67
Politica Phantasmagoria: Ideology in Cultural Studies Rhetorics     97
Breaking the Law: Resistance and the Problem of Limits     138
"Hands Up! You're Free": Pedagogy, Affect, and Transformation     160
Retrospective     199
Notes     215
Bibliography     229
Index     243

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