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Branded Bodies, Rhetoric, and the Neoliberal Nation-State
978-0-7391-8020-4 • Hardback
December 2012 • $80.00 • (£49.95)
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978-0-7391-8021-1 • eBook
November 2012 • $79.99 • (£49.95)

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Pages: 162
Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
By Jennifer Wingard
Series: Cultural Studies/Pedagogy/Activism
 
Language Arts & Disciplines | Communication Studies
Lexington Books
Branded Bodies, Rhetoric, and the Neoliberal Nation-State, by Dr. Jennifer Wingard, explores how neoliberal economics has affected the rhetoric of the media and politics, and how in very direct, material ways it harms the bodies of some of the United States’ most vulnerable occupants. The book is written at a moment when the promise of the liberal nation state, in which the government purports to care for its citizens through social welfare programs financed by state funds, is eroding. Currently, state policies are defined by neoliberal governmentality, a form which privileges privatization and individual personal responsibility. Instead of the promise of citizenship and the protections that come with it, or “the American Dream” to use a more common euphemism, the state uses certain bodies that will never be accepted as citizens as an underclass in service of capital (think “Guest Worker Programs”). And those underclassed “bodies” are identified through branding.
In order to demonstrate just how damaging branding has become, Wingard offers readings of key pieces of legislation on immigration and GLBT rights and their media reception from the past twenty years. By showing how brands are assembled to create affective threats,
Branded Bodies, Rhetoric, and the Neoliberal Nation-State articulates how dangerous the branding of bodies has become and offers rhetorical strategies that can repair the damage to bodies caused by political branding. Branded Bodies, then, is an intervention into the rhetorical practices of the nation-state. It attempts to clarify how the nation state uses brands to forward its claims of equality and freedom all the while condemning those who do not “fit in” to particular categories valued by the neoliberal state.
Jennifer Wingard is an Assistant Professor of Rhetoric, Composition, and Pedagogy and a faculty affiliate to the Women’s Studies Program at the University of Houston. Over the past five years, she helped design and implement the new Ph.D. concentration in Rhetoric, Composition, and Pedagogy. She specializes in 20th Century Rhetorical Theory, Transnational Feminist Theory, and Materialist Theories of Teaching English in the Corporate University. Her scholarship focuses on the impact of global neobliberal economics on local civic discourses, and she has been published in Reflections, Journal of Advanced Composition (JAC), and other interdisciplinary edited collections. She is currently working on her second book tentatively titled: No Zoning! Houston, TX the Neoliberal City.
Acknowledgments
Preface: Branding Bodies: Assembling Affective Responses
The Work of Branding Bodies
Chapter One: Othering and Branding: Assembling Neoliberal Identities
Why Branding?
Neoliberalism as Exception: The Private Made Public
From Other-others to Brands: Commodifying Bodies
Affective Branding: Bodies Dissolve into the Nation-State
Rhetorical Assemblage The work of Branding Bodies
Chapter Two: Branding the Family: U.S. Protectionsism as the Tie that Binds
Branding the Nation: It’s All in the Family
The Good Citizen/The Good Family
Branding of Protection: The Law of the Family
Mediating the Family: An Equal Opportunity Brand
Families, Communities, and Nations: The Intensity of Post-9/11 Discourse
Chapter Three: (Dis)Embodying Protection: Branding in the ICE Age
The Right to Assemblage: Laura’s Phone Call
Assembling the “War on Terror”: Post-9/11’s Branding of Terror
Assembling Protection: The Development of ICE
Assembling the Nation: Complicating the Citizen/Non-citizen Divide
Assembling Consumers: Selling ICE as the Brand of Protection
Chapter Four: “José Padilla” and “Osama Bin Laden”: Material Consequences of
Branding Bodies
Terrorism, José Padilla, and Osama bin Laden: Or How We Lost Our Humanity
Padilla: (Dis)Assembling the Threat
Racial Profiling: Defining Enemy Combatants
Osama bin Laden: The Face of a Movement
The Assassination of Osama bin Laden by the Coward U.S. Protectionism
Bare Life: The Neoliberal Nation-State is Neither Gone nor Forgotten
Chapter Five: From Branding to Bodies: (Re)Assembling the Worker
Branding the Worker: Labor in Neoliberal Times
Why the Worker Works: The Privatization of Public Service
Worker as Mobilized Body: How GLBT Bodies Became Workers in a
Post-DOMA World
Worker as “Good” Family: Defining Citizenship and Humanity through Work
Working an Issue: The Worker as Transnational Actor
Assembling Bodies: A Call for Rhetorical Action
Bibliography/References
Index


[T]his book is useful for explaining the processes through which individuals and groups are dehumanized. At times I found this book infuriating, which illustrates the power with whichWingard demonstrates the injustice of many of these brands. Those interested in social movements, political communication, and GLBT and immigrant issues will find this book useful.
Rhetoric Society Quarterly


Jennifer Wingard has given us a powerful concept to think about the ways commodity logic has invaded national discourse. Her analysis of neo-liberal rhetoric is persuasively grounded in telling examples of gay and lesbian, immigrant, enemy combatant, and worker ‘branded bodies’ and of the material forces driving their circulation. Anyone interested in a smart account of the insidious and seductive culture of control should read this book.

Rosemary Hennessey


Jennifer Wingard’s book is a must read for anyone who takes seriously that words have material power. More to the point, Wingard’s book pushes readers to see how rhetorics that circulate in an era of neoliberal global capital directly affect people and their place in the nation-state. Through thoughtful and cogent rhetorical analyses of US legislation, she lucidly shows how rhetorics have both political and, most importantly, visceral consequences. Branded Bodies offers a clear intervention into the rhetorical processes that demarcate those who matter and those who fall outside the purview of US neoliberal values in a moment of contemporary globalization.
Rebecca Dingo


 
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