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Nixon's “full-speech”: imaginary and symbolic registers of communication

Hook, Derek (2011) Nixon's “full-speech”: imaginary and symbolic registers of communication. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology , ISSN 1068-8471.

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Communicative interchanges play a foundational role in establishing the social. This being said, communicative behaviour can also lead to stalemates and conflict in which demands of recognition outweigh the prospect of hearing or saying anything beyond what is thought to be known. This paper foregrounds a dimension of communication often neglected by approaches prioritizing mass communications and new media technologies, namely the psychical and inter-subjective aspects of communicative exchange. More directly, this paper introduces and develops a Lacanian psychoanalytic theory of two interlinked registers of communicative behaviour. The first of these is the imaginary: the domain of one-to-one inter-subjectivity and behaviour that serves the ego and functions to consolidate the images subjects use to substantiate themselves. The second - far more disturbing and unpredictable - is the symbolic. It links the subject to a trans-subjective order of truth, it provides them with a set of socio-symbolic co-ordinates, and it ties them into a variety of roles and social contracts. In an elaboration of these two registers, illustrated by brief reference to Nixon’s admission of guilt in his interviews with David Frost, I pay particular attention to both the potentially transformative symbolic aspect of communicative behaviours and the ever-present prospect that such relations will ossify into imaginary impasses of mis-knowing (méconnaissance) and aggressive rivalry.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Communication, speech, inter-subjectivity, Other, psychoanalysis
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Psychosocial Studies
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2012 11:10
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2016 11:58

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