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Title: Utopian Rhetoric Has a Pleasure Problem
Authors: Nomi Lazar 
Keywords: Desire
Issue Date: 13-Jul-2021
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Citation: Nomi Lazar (2021-07-13). Utopian Rhetoric Has a Pleasure Problem. Rhetoric Society Quarterly 51 (3) : 204-214. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: By tracing rhetorical arcs of time, political leaders paint a promised future. Leaders whose interests lie in a status-quo-future use process-frames, such as cycles or progress. But leaders who promise a radically new future may use a utopian stasis-frame, such as eschatology. They promise an ultimate arrival, an eschaton. Arrival means no more need of violence and domination. This is Utopia’s promise. But for Utopia to last, to remain still and stable at this destination, change-driving conflict must cease. Without recourse to violence and domination to manage conflict, utopians must prevent it from arising in the first place. To do this, it is necessary to control conflict’s driving source: desire and pleasure. Utopia thus confronts a pleasure problem. This problem—I argue through a typology of pleasures—it cannot resolve. The pleasure problem means the same rhetoric of final arrival—which sparks energetic political activity in the present—renders Utopia an impossible future.
Source Title: Rhetoric Society Quarterly
ISSN: 02773945
DOI: 10.1080/02773945.2021.1918511
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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