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By David McNally

Our bodies of which means offers a full of life problem to postmodernist theories of language and politics which detach language from human our bodies and their fabric practices. starting with the 'historical our bodies' theorized through Marx, Darwin, and Freud, McNally develops an alternate account of language which attracts at the paintings of Mikhail Bakhtin and Walter Benjamin and up to date contributions to materialist feminism. In bringing the physique again into language, this publication makes a massive contribution to present debates in social and political conception.

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Extra resources for Bodies of Meaning: Studies on Language, Labor, and Liberation

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Nietzsche's doctrine of will to power is designed to overcome the vacuum created by the death of God; it is meant to enable the higher types to "become gods," as he puts it in the Gay Science. For this reason, it is inadequate to reduce his concept of self-overcoming to commonplace ideas about self-development. Nietzsche is concerned to create a higher type capable of living with permanent flux, chaos and becoming, a type that can survive in the midst of nothingness. To this end, the human type itself must be overcome and a higher race of "supermen" ("overmen") created.

3 This economic theory, I suggest, is of a 45 46 part with his economics of language. My critique of Derrida on language intersects, therefore, with a critique of postmodernist theories of late capitalismtheories which fetishize the movement of financial capital, inflate capital's autonomy from labor and productive activity and, in so doing, down-grade the prospects for an emancipatory politics. All of this comes back, I argue, to a view of language and economics that short-circuits the realities of the body.

Language is speech dematerialized and dehistoricized, speech stripped of its entanglement in the bodies and lives of real historical actors. Or, put in Saussure's own stark terms, "Language is speech less speaking"; it is "a form and not a substance" (CGL, 77, 122). Post-structuralists have had little quarrel with these initial methodological moves. In their search for structures, discourses, texts and codes independent of human actors, they have retained Saussure's formalist abstractionism.

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