Embodiment, Relation, Community

A Continental Philosophy of Communication

By (author) Garnet C. Butchart

Hardback - £59.95

Publication date:

08 January 2019

Length of book:

208 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271083254

In this volume, Garnet C. Butchart shows how human communication can be understood as embodied relations and not merely as a mechanical process of transmission. Expanding on contemporary philosophies of speech and language, self and other, and community and immunity, this book challenges many common assumptions, constructs, and problems of communication theory while offering compelling new resources for future study.

Human communication has long been characterized as a problem of transmitting information, or the “outward” sharing of “inner thought” through mediated channels of exchange. Butchart questions that model and the various theories to which it gives rise. Drawing from the work of Giorgio Agamben, Roberto Esposito, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Jacques Lacan—thinkers who, along with Martin Heidegger and Michel Foucault, have critiqued the modern notion of a rational subject—Butchart shows that the subject is shaped by language rather than preformed, and that humans embody, and not just use, the signs and contexts of interaction that form what he calls a “communication community.”

Accessibly written and engagingly researched, Embodiment, Relation, Community is relevant for researchers and advanced students of communication, cultural studies, translation, and rhetorical studies, especially those who work with a humanistic or interpretive paradigm.

“Garnet C. Butchart convincingly shows that we are always in communication and that one of its primary operative functions is immunization, a concept Butchart borrows from Roberto Esposito. Communication, paradoxically, is what restricts and enables, what is both threat and defense, exposure and shoring up, contamination and protection. An indispensable book for those wanting to understand the contribution of contemporary continental philosophy to our understanding of the communicative constitution of reality.”

—François Cooren, author of Action and Agency in Dialogue: Passion, Incarnation, and Ventriloquism