Bodies of Meaning

Studies on Language, Labour, and Liberation

Challenges postmodernist theories of language and politics which detach language from human bodies and their material practices.

Bodies of Meaning presents a vigorous challenge to postmodernist theories of language and politics which detach language from human bodies and their material practices. Beginning with the ‘historical bodies’ theorized by Marx, Darwin, and Freud, McNally develops an alternative account of language which draws on the work of Mikhail Bakhtin and Walter Benjamin and recent contributions to materialist feminism. In bringing the body back into language, this book makes a major contribution to current debates in social and political theory.

“McNally performs not only the service of ‘supplementing’ the recent discussion of the body, but in fact he completely reframes the question–to the point where, I would argue, the relevance of postmodern theories of the body will need to be shown in relation to McNally’s argument, not the other way around. This book is thoroughly compelling, very well written and argued, and indeed a pleasure to read.” — Bill Martin, author of Matrix and line: Derrida and the possibilities of postmodern social theory

“McNally’s argument that the body as configured in postmodern theory is really the ‘other’ of a new idealism is provocative and well grounded.” — Diane Raymond, author of Existentialism and the Philosophical Tradition

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