Holy shit! Consuming oneself through taboo speech-acts

Chinese Semiotic Studies 13 (2):151-170 (2015)
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Abstract

This paper addresses the scarcely scrutinized topic in the consumer culture literature regarding how a social actor consumes himself through speech acts. More specifically, by introducing a new type of speech act, viz. the taboo speech act, and by effectively differentiating it from expletives, slang, and swearing words and expressions, I outline how subjectivity appropriates and individuates its systemic underpinning as other or linguistic system (Saussure) and wall of language (Lacan) in linguistic acts of transgression. Taboo speech acts do not merely express emotions, such as anger and frustration. They also seek to contain a linguistic system as an ideational totality of acts of parole in a primus affectivus that is incumbent on the inverse sublimation of epithets and cultural symbols standing synecdochically in a pars pro toto relationship for the limits of what is culturally/linguistically sanctioned. The subject consumes/annihilates and institutes itself at the same time in taboo speech acts whose mission may not be fully accounted for through conversational pragmatics, insofar as they perform at a more foundational level a social ontological function. The offered analysis aims at contributing to the extant literature in consumer cultural theory, applied linguistics, and social theory.

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George Rossolatos
Universität Gesamthochschule Kassel

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