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books about Discursive Politics
A New Type of Womanhood: Discursive Politics and Social Change in Antebellum America
Natasha Kirsten Kraus
Duke University Press, 2008
Library of Congress HQ1418.K73 2008 | Dewey Decimal 305.42097309034
In A New Type of Womanhood
, Natasha Kirsten Kraus retells the history of the 1850s woman’s rights movement. She traces how the movement changed society’s very conception of “womanhood” in its successful bid for economic rights and rights of contract for married women. Kraus demonstrates that this discursive change was a necessary condition of possibility for U.S. women to be popularly conceived as civil subjects within a Western democracy, and she shows that many rights, including suffrage, followed from the basic right to form legal contracts. She analyzes this new conception of women as legitimate economic actors in relation to antebellum economic and demographic changes as well as changes in the legal structure and social meanings of contract.
Enabling Kraus’s retelling of the 1850s woman’s rights movement is her theory of “structural aporias,” which takes the institutional structures of any particular society as fully imbricated with the force of language. Kraus reads the antebellum relations of womanhood, contract, property, the economy, and the nation as a fruitful site for analysis of the interconnected power of language, culture, and the law. She combines poststructural theory, particularly deconstructive approaches to discourse analysis; the political economic history of the antebellum era; and the interpretation of archival documents, including woman’s rights speeches, petitions, pamphlets, and convention proceedings, as well as state legislative debates, reports, and constitutional convention proceedings. Arguing that her method provides critical insight not only into social movements and cultural changes of the past but also of the present and future, Kraus concludes A New Type of Womanhood by considering the implications of her theory for contemporary feminist and queer politics.
Soccer's Neoliberal Pitch: The Sport's Power, Profit, and Discursive Politics
John M. Sloop
University of Alabama Press, 2023
Library of Congress GV943.9.S64S56 2023 | Dewey Decimal 796.3340973
A powerful cultural critique of soccer’s public rhetoric
American sports agnostics might raise an eyebrow at the idea that soccer represents a staging ground for cultural, social, and political possibility. It is just another game, after all, in a society where mass-audience spectator sports largely avoid any political stance other than a generic, corporate-friendly patriotism. But John M. Sloop picks up on the work of Laurent Dubois and others to see in American soccer—a sport that has achieved immense participation and popularity despite its struggle to establish major league status—a game that permits surprisingly diverse modes of thinking about national identity because of its marginality.
As a rhetorician who draws on both critical theory and culture, Sloop seeks to read soccer as the game intersects with gender, race, sexuality, and class. The result of this engagement is a sense of both enormous possibility and real constraint. If American soccer offers more possibility because of its marginality, looking at how those possibilities are constrained can provide valuable insights into neoliberal logics of power, profit, politics, and selfhood.
In Soccer’s Neoliberal Pitch, Sloop analyzes a host of soccer-adjacent phenomena: the equal pay dispute between the US women’s national team and the US Soccer Federation, the significance of hooligan literature, the introduction of English soccer to American TV audiences, the strange invisibility of the Mexican soccer league despite its consistent high TV ratings, and the reading of US national teams as “underdogs” despite the nation’s quasi-imperial dominance of the Western hemisphere. An invaluable addition to a growing bookshelf on soccer titles, Soccer’s Neoliberal Pitch serves as a model for critical cultural work with sports, with appeal to not only sports studies, but cultural studies, communication, and even gender studies classrooms.