Discourses of Denial: The Rhetoric of American Academic Labor, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Discourses of Denial

The Rhetoric of American Academic Labor, 1st Edition

By Thomas A. Discenna


188 pages

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Paperback: 9780367365769
pub: 2019-08-29
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pub: 2017-09-26
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Discourses of Denial explores the myriad ways that the labor of those employed by universities is situated as somehow distinct from ordinary labor. Focusing on a variety of sites where academic labor is discursively constructed in popular consciousness including among the professoriate itself, its critics and detractors, the unionization struggles of graduate students, the invisibility of contingent academics and the resistance to the unionization of student athletes. Merging Critical Rhetoric (CR) with Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) this study examines myth that "academic work is not the same as other labor" (Pason, 2011, p. 1786). The denial of academic labor functions to underwrite an attack on labor in all of its variations producing what Berardi (2009) calls a "new kind of worker [who] value[s] labor as the most interesting part of his or her life and therefore no longer opposes the prolongation of the working day but is actually ready to lengthen it out of personal choice and will" (p. 79). The professoriate is, therefore, not a retrograde figure of more genteel times but the emblematic figure of late capitalism’s transition to cognitive labor and with it an unceasing colonization of the human lifeworld.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Crises of Academic Labor 2. Critical Discourse Analysis, Critical Rhetoric, and the Cognitariat 3. The Professoriate and its Critics 4. The Strangeness of Academic Labor 5. Graduate Student Unionization 6. Contingent Academics and the Denial of Academic Labor 7. The Student Athlete as Laborer 8. Higher Education and the Denial of Labor

About the Author

Thomas A. Discenna is Professor of Communication in the Department of Communication and Journalism where he teaches courses in the philosophy of communication, rhetorical theory and criticism and discourse analysis. His work has appeared in the International Journal of Communication, the Western Journal of Communication, Rhetorica and Communication Quarterly.

About the Series

Routledge Critical Studies in Discourse

Routledge Critical Studies in Discourse publishes high quality original research monographs broadly in the area of critical discourse studies. It seeks theoretically innovative and empirically rigorous research that advances our critical understanding of the interrelations of discourse and social processes, including all aspects of power relations (such as maintenance and perpetuation of dominance; negotiations of power and resistance; as well as solidarity formations for group empowerment). The series supports interdisciplinary research, and welcomes investigations of new topics, domains, issues, frameworks and methods, as well as fresh perspectives on established ones, from a variety of international and cultural contexts. A broad understanding of "discourse" is adopted in the series to include systematic and explicit analyses of spoken/written language and other modes of semiosis (e.g. visual images, sounds, gestures and actions).

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General