The Creation of Epistemological-Empirical Knowledge, with Hillary Clinton's Political Speech as an Example
Beatriz Revelles Benavente
PhD student at the IN3, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Researcher at the research group HUM593, University of Granada

This article is concerned with a different conceptualization of the political speech, and of language. The political speech will be re(con)figured as an "apparatus" (Barad 2001, 2007) and language as "a living force" (Colebrook, 2008). In order to make this clear, extracts from political speeches will be analysed. Throughout, the validity of another analysis of political speeches -- one inspired by new materialism -- will be emphasized. This feminist epistemological-empirical shift will be exemplified by a study of the political speeches of Clinton on 9/11. This type of epistemological-empirical knowledge proposes the inseparability of theory and emprical data in the analysis of any (sociological) event. As such, the results can be used in future sociological research and for future theoretical purposes. This article is a claim for a multi-directional sense of reality, since it is structured around the impossibility of dualist categorizations in sensible accounts of reality. In other words, this article forms the materialization of new materialism as a solution to the representationalist paradox present in current-day knowledge production in the field of politics.

Political life has shifted its strategy from a politics of ideology to a politics of affect implying a relational change, epistemologically and methodologically speaking. Lyotard (1984) anticipated both this shift and the need to provide a method to empirically analyse it. In order to intervene with the mechanisms underlying the change, an account of the material affections of concepts and their relation with meaning is needed. I propose a new materialist methodological shift in order to explore and alter the material-discursive Order established in contemporary society. Thus, the purpose of this article is twofold: to provide, first of all, a different perspective on meaning/knowing reality (especially in political science), and secondly, a method which permits a glimpse of the differentialities that this shift is affecting with-in reality.

This new materialist methodological shift is enacted through the multi-directionality of power and the connection of different agencies. Because of this multiplicity, a theory concerning knowledge and reality beyond binary structures is needed. New materialism does not imply dualist categories which encapsulate knowledge in "the typical Western patriarchal either/or notions of existence" (Mayhead and Marshall 2005: 13). It proposes to break through dualisms that, in addition to other consequences, categorize the single world in which we live and split it in two: "real" and "representation." This break-through implies coming up with new conceptual tools, following a Deleuzian philosophy. The tools that are going to help to acquire a sensible account of political life nowadays are language and method(ology). Language is re(con)figured by moving away from the representative attributes that have been attached to it. Language has been considered the mediator through which "reality" can be understood by the "objective" human mind. The methodology proposed is the one configured by Karen Barad (2001, 2003, 2007) as an onto-epistemology called "agential realism," which is the "apparatus" -- the method of analysis.

To explicate this method, I would like to start with an overview of how empirical political studies have "classically" been approached. Afterwards, I will offer a brief epistemological summary of the intervention of new materialism and its contribution to political studies in particular and empirical studies in general. Secondly, I will offer my principal contribution to political studies (and to new materialism as a theory), namely the methodology and the method used to analyse empirical research -- that is, the Baradian apparatus. It is mainly a methodological tool (and at the same time an epistemological one) which allows us to specify the complexities, or mechanisms, through which reality in general, and political life in particular, is changing. This concept permits the researcher to discern a problem, include him- or herself into the research, and shed light on the mechanisms within the change. To conclude the article, I provide an empirical example of this method that departs from the textual analysis of political speech. I will use disciplines such as law, media studies, politics and linguistics in order to configure the new prism that is being introduced. All in all, I want to present an onto-epistemological method to analyse empirical cases, to show how a portion of reality is in affection with (or how it relates to) the whole. In that way, I hope that this article will contribute to political theory by offering possible solutions to some of the problems created in this discipline (especially in media studies) and to demonstrate that new materialism is able to configure a methodology for empirical cases.

Family Tree: A Review of the Academic Arena

Empirical analysis in the field of politics has always benefited from the classificatory practice that characterizes modernity at large (Lyotard, [1988] 1991). One example of this is the theory of the "three spheres" by James Flanagan (Mayhead and Marshall 2005: 12). Drawing on Edward Soja and Henri Lefebvre, Flanagan classifies political space as follows:

He [James Flanagan] describes First Space as perceived or empirical space, "the space of the physical world".… Those in power in the Second Space project on First Space a hierarchical ordering of experience within that expanse and thus, create the normative. In this schema, Third Space becomes the space of the marginalized, the silenced, the rendered invisible ones, the place where difference matters as a result of our Second Space decisions. (Ibid)

This theory is reflected in Spivak's "Can the Subaltern Speak?" (1988) and in other post-colonial theory. The Third Space is the space for the ontological Other, the marginalized, the one excluded from the normative or first space although these spaces mutually influence each other (Mayhead and Marshall 2005: 12-13). Given this, how do we recognize the division between these spheres? How is it possible to assign something as the "real" and very "First" sphere if what we are already materializing, living, is the Second? How does this power differentiation and hierarchy work today given the importance of interconnectivity? All in all, this classification of the First, Second, and Third spaces presents a divisive line between One/Other and between matter and discourse.

This classificatory practice is widespread in subject-centred analyses of politics. Politicians' subjectivities are an important focus of this kind of research. Here, the research is done in terms of representation in parliament or in an isolated way, i.e. as an unchangeable subject contextualized only by her or his own nationality, gender, and race. Nonetheless, in a glocal[1] context, and following a discursive analysis (Foucault in Hall, 1997), this isolation and representativeness do not seem to provide an accurate description and fall into stereotyping representationalism, such as gender stereotypes (Galligan and Clavero, 2008; Fox and Oxley, 2003; Childs and Krook, 2008). These stereotypes confine female subjectivities to sometimes contradictory images that produce numeric figures based on results coming from the past. In addition, these stereotypes encapsulate the subjectivity of women as "different from" (Braidotti, 1991) someone else (e.g. a male counterpart), being a static, passive matter in which the so-called "category of gender" is effectuating power (ignoring completely the power that the female -- in the case of this study, Hillary Clinton -- may wield in such a category).

An example of this stereotyping practice is Clinton's subjectivity as proposed by Elvin T. Lim (2009) who encapsulates her as "Madonna, Unruly Woman, Bitch and Witch" (ibid, 254), and the categorical One without taking into account that

[t]he self is the One who is not dominated, who knows that by the semice [sic] of the other, the other is the one who holds the future, who knows that by the experience of domination, which gives the lie to the autonomy of the self. To be One is to be autonomous, to be powerful, to be God; but to be the One is to be an illusion, and so to be involved in a dialectic of apocalypse with the other. (Haraway, 1991: 178)

On the other hand, many researchers in media studies (e.g. Negrine and Papathanassopoulos, 1996; García Luengo, 2005; Canel, 2008) agree as well on the necessity of finding a different framework to produce accurate empirical results in this area of knowledge. As Canel (2008) states, a re(con)figuration of political culture that would introduce interdisciplinarity, break with representationalism, study the media (and especially mass media communication), and re-think the "effect" of feelings in politics is needed. Affection, interdisciplinarity (or transversality), and a move away from representationalism are concepts used epistemologically as tools in the theory of new materialism (van der Tuin and Dolphjin, 2010). Even though I do not intend to resolve the problems that media studies are facing in terms of empirical analysis, I believe that the proposed method will help to theorize "communication" and open it up as a methodological tool which analyses reality from its multi-directional angle. In other words, it will provide, instead of results, dynamic processes of the analysis that are required by the notion of "communication."

Political life, then, is changing, and the mechanisms for this change need to be pointed out. Specific constructions of reality divide political life in an oppositional way along the either/or path of "real" and "representation." The problem with this division resides in the necessity to privilege one over the other -- representation over the real -- given the exclusive nature of the relation between them. Thus, according to this division, reality cannot be accessed, only its representation; and at the same time, since representation is what can be accessed by knowledge, representation necessarily excludes the real, since it cannot be known. On the other hand, living and non-living beings materially enact, discursively create, and live with-in reality at the same time. This is a paradoxical situation in which both reality and representation are privileged over the other. I therefore propose a methodology based on "boundary making" (Barad, 2001): this is the exploration of a materialist onto-epistemology that explains how the political speech produces and reproduces the boundaries that we take for granted -- real and representation; subjectivity and stereotype -- in order to know the real and the mechanisms that are producing it and be able to advance politically before the results are produced.

New Materialism: Opening Up Theoretical Frameworks

"Who exercises power? And in what sphere?" (Foucault, [1972] 1977: 213). This has been the question par excellence when it comes to studying objects that happen to be humans involved in power relationships. Feminist and non-feminist theorists alike seem to interpret this question in terms of ordering: classifying humans and non-humans as subjects/objects; humans as woman/man, one/other; phenomena as discursive/non-discursive; nature/culture; etc. has guided the way in which knowledge about power has been sedimented.

As an alternative to what I consider epistemological-empirical complications, I offer the relational actualisation of material-discursive practices proposed by new materialism. This relation is produced before, after, and during what is considered "material" and what is considered "discursive." In order for these concepts to enact with-in reality and create it at the same time, it is vital to recognize their dependant or relational nature. One cannot happen without the other. Thus, the application of such a method provides more accurate results in the field of political science since stereotypes can disappear and be replaced by relational subjectivities during a specific space and time. Conversely, communication becomes the inter-relation, or intra-action[2], to use Barad's words (2007, 2001, 2003). These are the forces by which the message (Clough, 2007) is being affected (as we will see in the last section of this article).

New materialism is an epistemological/methodological trend[3] that has entered the academic arena not as a contestation, but as one of the theoretical frames of third wave feminism (van der Tuin, 2009). It seeks to convey its theoretical framework by relating affirmative readings, instead of critical ones, of past theories. As Latour (2004) argues, "[c]ritique as a repertoire is over. It has run out of steam entirely, and now the whole question is, 'how can we be critical, not by distance but by proximity'" (quoted in Kirby, 2008: 229-30). I interpret Latour by focusing on the re(con)figuration of three specific concepts: the political speech via the Baradian apparatus and Barad's new materialist theory of agential realism, the concept of language and the knowledge obtained by this epistemology/methodology, and epistemological-empirical knowledge.

1. Agential Realism: The Baradian Apparatus

Agential realism is an ethico-onto-epistemological theory (Barad, 2007) that argues for the distribution of agency with-in entangled, or intra-connected, entities instead of depositing it exclusively on human subjects. Barad describes this framework succinctly:

Agential realism is an epistemological and ontological framework that extends Bohr's insights and takes as its central concerns the nature of materiality, the relationship between the material and the discursive, the nature of "nature" and of "culture" and the relationship between them, the nature of agency, and the effects of boundary, including the nature of exclusions that accompany boundary projects. Agential realism entails a reformulation of both of its terms -- "agency" and "realism" -- and provides an understanding of the role of human and nonhuman factors in the production of knowledge, thereby moving considerations of epistemic practices beyond the traditional realism versus social constructivist debates. (Barad, 1998: 89)

This new framework allows the researcher to escape from the object/subject division; it allows us to account for an alternative understanding of the discursive and the material; and it helps us construct a better understanding of a notion of agency that does not reside either in the subject or the object of knowledge. All in all, "agential realism" provides us with a possible solution, which does not rely on classificatory processes, to the representationalism that has been present in the human sciences since modernity. Agential realism thus becomes my analytical tool and my proposed alternative to representationalism in politics.

The qualitative shift (van der Tuin, 2009) that is proposed regarding the notion of language goes hand in hand with a new conceptualization of the political speech as, in Barad's (2001, 2007) term, the "apparatus." This means the reconsideration of both language and materiality. According to the framework built in this article, and in order to provide a more sensitive account of the current political stakes in society, I redefine the political speech as a material-discursive apparatus of bodily production. I redefine it in this way because the political speech is "an instrument of power through which particular meanings and bodies and material-discursive boundaries are produced" (Barad 2001: 80 [my emphasis]). According to this redefinition, we need to look at the political speech as the "matter" and the object of investigation, but also as the "agent" that materializes certain boundaries in history. Boundaries are not just limits, but actors. As such, "matter" is not "a passive agent" (Barad, 2001), which is one of the core characteristics of this new framework; matter enacts a reality that is constantly moving and changing.

Barad's notion of the apparatus is directly linked to her notion of "non-deterministic causality" (Barad, 2003: 76), by which she means a causality that is intra-connected with "space" and "time" that intra-relate in a multi-directional way. Spatiality, temporality, and causality do not follow a linear progression of cause and effect in a narrative; present, past, and future are conflated. The apparatus unites the different forces intra-acting on it, making its becoming -- or materialization as a corporeal body in a determined moment -- possible. These differing forces intra-relating are what Barad (2003, 2007) calls the "enfoldings of the apparatus." This may easily confuse the nature of the apparatus as a progressive linear temporality because it is the intra-relation of these enfoldings, or parts, of the apparatus that turns it into an event, turning this object of knowledge into analytical tool. Nevertheless, the key concept that helps in understanding this disruption in linear temporality is found in Bergson's duration (Bergson, 2004 [1896]). These enfoldings are "the continuity of the real" (Grosz, 2005a: 4); the real is only discernible through its self-enfoldings. That is why categorizing static labels for social analysis, even when pluralized, is not the desired solution since the apparatus is constantly moving, changing, and enfolding once and again by the intra-action between nature and culture[4]. Such a movement is so important because it is necessary to stop looking at matter as something passive and identity/identities as always already active (Barad, 2001).

The apparatus enfolds time in inmanent ways (multiple and unpredictable). When a concrete case in a concrete spatio-temporality is studied, we do not realise it at first because we are immersed in the apparatus. The exclusions within the apparatus that is being analysed are beyond the researcher at a specific time; they become "excluded realities" (Barad, 2003) to her or him at the present time. The enfoldings of the apparatus do not have a closed end, but since my limits as a researcher facing deadlines are also a part of the boundary that materializes the phenomena, at some point these "ends" are going to be presented; and that is what makes the meaning.

2. Language: "A Living Force"[5]

Language is a material, rather than a representative, intervention in the apparatus. Thus, matter is made out of and understood through language, as language is understood through matter. This is precisely why new materialism is "a focus on the material-semiotic" (van der Tuin, 2009: 415), that is to say, a focus on the inseparability of language and matter. Using Deleuze and Guattari's theory as a "bridge" (van der Tuin, 2009: 24) in this epistemological claim, I would like to account for a conceptualization of language that does not overdetermine matter (Deleuze and Guattari, [1980] 2004: 96). Things do not precede words, just like words do not precede things.

This means that language is considered an instrument, subjected to analysis and part of the analysis as such, being an equal part just like the other entangled agencies. That is to say, "material-discursive" (Haraway, 1988) means not only the materiality of language, but also the language of materiality. Materiality itself has linguisticality (Kirby, 2008). This does not render the terms equal (language = materiality), but describes the entanglement of both. In my own analysis of the political speech of Hillary Clinton (that I address later), links between the material and the discursive can be seen particularly in the discursive formations created after 9/11. These formations surrounding the concept of "fear" constitute a mainly racist ideology that has materialized all over in the reinforcement of security (for example) at airports. In this multi-directional instance, matter constitutes the discursive (I am scared of so-called Others and [at the] oversecuritized airports) and the discursive constitutes matter (I am scared and in need of oversecuritized airports).

Textual analysis has been widely neglected by contemporary philosophy for being reduced to the linguistic turn. Favouring language over matter was considered to be the principle under which representationalism and the linguistic turn was directed. However, I propose affirmative readings of such a turn (when possible) as well as an analysis of language in line with new materialist postulates in order to be able to apply a textual analysis that does not neglect matter, but intra-acts with it.

3. Epistemological-Empirical Knowledge

As I have been arguing, there is a strong need in the political field to develop a new epistemological-empirical method of analysis in order to achieve an accurate glimpse of reality and intervene in the mechanisms that enfold it. This epistemological-empirical knowledge needs to be dynamic, open, fluid, and multi-directional, as well as objective instead of subjective in the totalizing or relativist sense (Haraway, 1988). I intend to relate the boundaries present in the political speech in order to linguistically materialize the intra-action of a determined political female with the material ongoing of society of which she is part, or in the sense that she is signified and materialized by this society at the same time that she signifies and materializes it. Therefore, shifting the foundational separation between empirical and epistemological knowledge (Lyotard, 1984) is necessary, since epistemology is impossible without empiricism and vice-versa. This is the same as with the other dualist pairs that I have been deconstructing. I want to offer the possibility of enacting the dynamic process by which a scholarly subject without pure and predetermined agency contributes to the configuration of the ongoing world.

Methodology: A Cartography of Reality

This new critical theory does not have a concrete methodology. However, if a methodology is to be "applied", the only way to do it is cartographically and by relating intra-actively with epistemology and reality. Methodology in new materialism means to put in practice concepts and, at the same time, to get concepts from practices. This is the so-called onto-epistemological shift that follows from new materialism. In fact, it has already been argued that the object of analysis is always already the analytical tool and vice-versa (van der Tuin, 2009). This implies a new definition of methodology that does not assume the foundational separation (Harding, 1986) between epistemology, methodology, methods, and reality. I consider methodology part of the epistemological cartographic map that I have drawn up in the previous sections of this paper. It is part of the process of becoming-knowledge; these instruments are part of the coming to matter of the object of study in this article.

The political speech as an apparatus is my point of departure, or the first layer in the investigation. The second layer is the consideration of the political speech as an event, or a consideration of how the different political speeches intra-relate to each other. This event is the enfolding of the differing apparatuses intra-actively relating in order to identify boundaries and meanings that are normally taken for granted as pre-existing. This identification goes beyond dichotomies of objectivity and subjectivity. The reason for this is that the object of knowledge becomes, as I was saying, dynamic. Knowing becomes a process, not a result, associating knowledge and politics[6]. Likewise, political sciences benefit from this new materialist perspective since the latter provides a methodology to anticipate ourselves in a society enacting totalitarian and conservative material-discursive moves and to intervene in this society with these moves. All these precise elements allow the subject its own becoming subject (which is not determined before the encounter but materializes in the encounter)[7].

Although she develops a different division within the apparatus ("object" and "agency of observation") provided by a "constructed cut" made by the researcher (Barad, 2001: 83), Barad moves away from the main problems she considered in her analysis of the Foucauldian apparatus -- the ignorance of non-human agency, the passivity of matter, and the problematic relationship between the discursive and the non-discursive (Barad, 2003: 809-10). Turning to the political speeches referred to in this article in order to make the apparatus more visual and empirically acceptable, I will divide the different entanglements of the apparatus into agencies of observation and the object of observation. Agencies of observation include physical-conceptual devices, like media, the audience, and "spacetime" (Barad, 2003) (which not only means the physical place and time in which a speech is being given but also the intra-actions produced between these two concepts as well as the way that the different speeches relate to each other and the way in which this 'spacetime' is implicated in a general spacetime, i.e., in Bergsonian terms, in duration); technologies of subjectivation, like the constitutional law that governs the duties of the Secretary of State in the United States and the Democratic Party; and the way that reality is constructed or excluded in these processes of subject formation. The object of observation is, of course, Hillary Clinton as a phenomenon and, thus, her political speech (the paper, the speech pronounced).

Separating agencies of observation from the object of observation might seem contradictory according to the monist perspective towards which Barad, following new materialists, is trying to move. However, it can be explained in terms of the materialization of the boundaries of the apparatus (Barad, 2001: 91). This boundary making, which is necessary to make meaning (Barad 2001: 105, n. 10), is produced by an "agential cut" (Barad, 2007: 333-4). This agential cut is already beyond the reach of the researcher since the researcher is immersed in the durational wholeness of the apparatus. Intuitively, the researcher can produce "constructed cuts" to perform a study; a diffractive process entangled in the phenomena is what is enacting reality. This is why I present two concrete subjects in this whole apparatus: Clinton on the one hand and the political speech on the other. These subjects are not different, since the one is always already the materialization of the other, or the one and the other at the same time.

I provide speeches given by Clinton on the 11th of September in 2009 and relate them to past speeches and future speeches as well as the reactions that the audience might have had towards them. In order to re(con)figure the object of study, this analysis must be produced by an understanding of spacetime, matter, and language as dynamic things (Barad 2003, 2007; Kirby 1997, 2008) constantly intra-acting. The intra-connection between different speeches, the media, the society, and the laws provide hints of contestation within the reality excluded by the speech. In other words, looking at speeches that occurred in the past and the social reactions to them can provide clues about the future. This future corresponds to the multiple possibilities occurring in the "excluded reality" of the present apparatus. At the same time, this "excluded reality" affects and effects future apparatuses. This is when matter becomes meaning and meaning becomes matter.

In addition, engaging with visual analysis is crucial because the material body of the female politician will change and have a different impact depending on the context. Such engagement will offer us an analysis of the setting where a speech is being produced. Haraway (1991) pushes to the limit the borders of what is considered the material body. This acquires special relevance in this case since the body materially changes depending on factors such as being behind a podium or holding a microphone (strong markers of power). In every specific moment, the material body of the politician will change dramatically since it is the boundary of that body that acquires and gives meaning. The politician becomes one with the podium or the microphone, and the enacted physicality of the material body is enlarged by this intra-action. My visual sources are mainly the videos available on the official national web pages of the state. Instead of beginning with the flesh, the body, or matter, however, I begin with Clinton's speech.

Hillary Rhodam Clinton: A Biomediated Body

Here, I begin from Clough's (2008, 2007) theory of affect, since it is with-in affects that the crossing of the threshold between empiricism and virtuality (Clough, 2008: 3) is produced in a specific "spacetime" (Barad, 2007). For my purposes, affect is to be understood as the force, the intra-action, which enfolds and unfolds the spacetimes that are implicated in matter, and thus implicated in the boundary-making of the apparatus. In this affective context, Hillary Rhodam Clinton stops being a full-agent subject and becomes a "biomediated body." According to Clough (2008: 2), "[t]he biomediated body is a definition of a body and what it can do -- its affectivity -- that points to the political economic and theoretical investment in the self-organization inherent to matter or matter's capacity to be in-formational, to give bodily form." Political life has shifted its strategy from a politics of ideology to a politics of just this sort of affectivity. Thus, the following questions are at stake: What meaning is Clinton's body producing by her intra-action with so many other present bodies? What boundaries are taken for granted? Which kinds of mechanisms create boundaries? Or even how is this affective force affecting a shift in society throughout this new materialist concept of "political speech"? These questions cannot be answered through classical classificatory methodologies that encapsulate Clinton in different forms of gender stereotyping. This analysis demands a new materialist theory and an empirical methodology.

Clinton's body is the material abstract motion of the Department of State as the Secretary of State. She is discursively in charge of different bureaus and offices and their coordination in order to reach the mission of the whole department: to "[c]reate a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community"[8]. Nevertheless, this mission is materialized as the president's adviser on foreign affairs[9] based on the numerous trips that she undertakes to these other countries. Thus, this biomediated body exports a moral code to the whole world, even though she is simply an adviser to the president. Likewise, she negotiates her identity as a politician not only in terms of her gender, but also in terms of her role as an adviser who must deal with the security of the nation in a foreign policy context. She in-forms Americans' future collectively. Her mission is to demonstrate how "good" American values are and to universalize them so they can provide "American citizens" security from foreigners, the others, while, at the same time, providing the others with a "better" moral code which will, in turn, improve their own development. Consequently, the construction of Clinton's self is related to the different others on their different levels: the president, people from the United States and the others. She does not hold the power to be one either. This connects directly with Barad's agential realism whereby no single human has agency; there is not a One.

1. Nine-Eleven

"Remarks at National Day of Service and Remembrance" was given by Clinton at the Beacon Theatre in New York City [10] in Madison Square Garden. This theatre has hosted events of a very varied nature, from the Dalai Lama's lectures in August, 1999 to the 60th birthday of Bill Clinton on October 26th, 2006. It was first conceived as a purely artistic theatre where films were shown and plays and music were performed. In 1979, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. On September 11th, 2009, it hosted the inauguration of the National Day of Service and Remembrance, a "historic" moment when the material-discourse of fear that the United States of America created in the aftermath of the 9/11 shifted into a material-discourse of serving on behalf of "America" [11]. A boundary in the political apparatus was created on that day, making meaning and historicizing matter. In other words, the history of the United States shifted in that particular moment: 9/11 changed from a "day of terror" to a "day of servitude." This is clear from four main epistemological-empirical facts: the spatiality of the apparatus, the role of the association of victims as exteriority within, the conceptualization of death, and the hero/other dichotomy that culminates in an act of law.

Clinton, dressed in black to symbolize grief, faces 2894 people on a podium with two microphones. Surrounded by a mystical aura of black with dark blue lights, she presents herself smiling and happy to be back in the United States for such an important day. This stage differs greatly from the White House, where she is seen sitting or standing with other political leaders. As such, it demonstrates the different nature of this particular moment. It is hosted in a glamorous theatre, where artistic and social rather than political events typically take place. After eighteen seconds of applause, she starts talking, smiling and keeping eye-contact with the audience for the whole speech, thus giving the feeling more of a conversation than a political speech. At the middle and at the end, she receives more applause. The applause of the audience, Clinton's eye-contact, and even her smile all contribute to the development of an embodied One: the audience and Clinton are joined to in-form the material-discursive message for today. Thus, a different space affects this act of serving.

By looking at the actual boundary produced in the speech, it can be observed that Clinton is embodied in the figure of a server, a politician of serving. The affective force present in the atmosphere of the space helps Clinton in particular and society in general to (in)form mattering discursively speaking. The black and blue scenario and the physical space in which the speech is being hosted disconnect and challenge the threshold created surrounded 9/11 in order to cross it. According to Clough (2008), the biomediated body is necessary in order to limit, make meaning, determinate the dynamics of affects with-in bodies. For this to happen, "the subject is given a 'nonlived collective memory'" (ibid, 6). As Clinton states, "we all bring a mix of emotions and memories and feelings to this day" (Remembrance) [12]. The intra-actions of pre-existent bodies, the affects intra-acting with the bodies present in the room and with those who are not there (those who are non-living), who are indeterminate, create a boundary-making, and thus create meaning. What might simply be explained as the climate or atmosphere of the room becomes material insofar as it becomes turns dynamic, determinate, and at the same time an open-ended flux of feelings.

The organization of the victims of 9/11 have, for seven years, wanted to celebrate this day not as a day of grief, but as the reconstruction of a broken nation, as an altruistic gesture. That is to say, as it is reinforced in the speech, on that day "American people" went to the street to help others. Passion motivates people to act and react. People who have suffered post-traumatic stress since the attack enact an attitude of serving to overcome their own pain, as psychologists say (Kelly, 2007). Thus, a material (even biological or visceral) response is produced by the citizens: they help in order to alleviate their suffering. Likewise, politicians have reacted towards this continuity of helping and have realized how much this trend can benefit the state (by providing the minimum level of social services needed in a "family" economically speaking and keeping the nuclear heterosexual family as the basis of society) in much the same way as people are benefiting from this practice in order to overcome trauma. Politicians have capitalized on emotions in order to reap rewards.

On September 9th, 2009, however, the pleas from the association of victims were heard. Although politicians may have their own "hidden intentions" when they listen to people, this could be considered as a real act of resistance in which people have acquired enough power to create a material-discursive shift surrounding 9/11. And Clinton knows it: she changes her facial expression to the smiling-sharing one. She was part of the association and she wants to be part of the shift being produced today. This speech becomes a material act configured through the struggles of the audience present in the theatre. Hence, what was considered an excluded reality from the previous apparatus has become (and may always have been) an exteriority within the apparatus. On this day this exteriority within becomes one with the apparatus, proving the iterative unfolding of it. All citizens are (potentially) part of the politics of servitude.

This politics of serving "our nation" is also characterized by the individualization which this speech aims for and which leads us to another important material-discursive shift: dead bodies come alive at the boundary of the apparatus. Although the abstract concept of the nation[13] survives as a part of the speech, Clinton frequently uses proper names (just first names) , clearly denoting familiarity or a relation of affection, such as. These names -- Seymour, Elaine, Jay -- form part of the family context of the heroic figure of Glenn Winuk, a figure that serves to construct Clinton's speech. Winuk was an attorney working in one of the towers who helped to evacuate most of it. He died when the South Tower fell. Because of this, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor: his dead body can embody the figure of a living one; "his story will inspire others." In addition, Winuk, together with other non-living bodies, helps to construct the collective memory mentioned before. As such, the boundary limits of the event, the limit of being dead, makes the material-semiotic meaning of a "hero" a part of the apparatus as a living influence. This means that the apparatus makes such corporeal bodies go from dead to alive in the dynamicity of the becoming subjects of the political apparatus. They are never others because of the apparatus, and Clinton needs them to create the desired meaning: Winuk as an inspiration for people to become heroes, part of the dynamicity of matter, part of its affection or enactment.

This directs us to the last characteristic identified in this "politics of servitude": the supposed pair of One/Other and hero/non-hero, which, at the same time and along with the other characteristics, culminates in one of the main points, which is "an act of law." What is more, Winuk is part of Clinton's becoming subject, in this specific case by diffractively embedding herself in this "other." Diffraction is a Baradian methodology (Barad, 2007) that involves reading things through each other without presupposing relata, or acknowledging the process by which the entanglement through which two agencies become one. Through this strategy (as well as the others before mentioned), Clinton manages to get closer to the audience, trying to become one of them. This is paradoxical if we take into account the aforementioned material position of power of her corporeality. On the contrary, and at the same time, she looks for the convergences that her own body has with Winuk in order to portray herself as this "other," as a hero (as for example the use of the proper name for his family making this family her own), illustrating once again that she is not a "One" in this apparatus. As such, she takes part in state power by individualizing this man and his family, and at the same time promoting the totalizing values of "America" by means of the materialization of a politics of servitude, "because serving is one way to express what it means to be an American" (Remembrance). What is more, anyone who is not able to help "their" country will not be an American since a "uniquely American characteristic [is] a willingness and a pride in serving others" (Remembrance). This volition makes those who are not heroes participate in "pride" through this volunteering service to their country.

However, and even though Clinton has "served" "America" in many different political ways "as a citizen, and when [she] was a senator, and now as your Secretary of State"[14] (Remembrance), she does not become a "One-Hero" since it is not her servitude alone that materializes all these shifts into "an act of law." Practically, she volunteered in the non-profit organization "MyGoodDeed" during the whole seven years (2001-2008) of her time as New York senator, thereby giving not just personal but political support to "American citizens." Nonetheless, neither her volunteering nor her political positions then or now were enough to transform this day of massacre into a "Remembrance and Service day." Thus, Clinton was part of the otherness, the before mentioned exteriority within that was part of the becoming of the apparatus. Nevertheless, she has been enabled as a messenger (Clough, 2008: 17) to alter the dynamics of affects: people are happy (as her) instead of sad and grieving.

This "act of law" brings with it a virtual future in order to materialize itself, and it is directly connected with the implications of the "threat" or the future in this speech. It is empirically referred to in the following example: this "new era of service creating volunteer opportunities for 250,000 Americans by the year 2017" (Remembrance). Regardless of the fact that it will not be 250,000 Americans, but 250,000 United States citizens, we can observe how this future is entangled with the whole speech in its becoming. What is more, this future is unpredictable: "[a]nd now, in this new century, with all the old and the new threats and challenges we face -- some of which we can't even anticipate or even imagine" (Remembrance). Or as she begins: "We have to be strong in the face of those [the violent extremists] who would seek to do harm to our people, our nation, and our values" (Remembrance). She says this even though this "harm" happened in the past and the United States has not received another "threat" like 9/11 in seven years. In Appadurai's terms (1996: 31), "[i]f your present is their future… then your own past can be made to appear as simply a normalized modality of your present." All in all, everything is effectively intra-acting, confirming Massumi's (2005) suspicion that a politics of affection has been established due to its high efficiency in the nation.

2. Intra-Relations: The Entanglement with Other Apparatuses

In order to better understand the phenomenon that is being enacted, it is necessary to understand how different apparatuses intra-relate. Having started with the concrete empirical case of the speech, a more "glocal" understanding of the dynamics present in this affective matter can be achieved through the discernment of this entanglement. This is what I call the political event[15] in order to methodologically better understand the process of analysis. In Clinton's case it means its relation with the other two speeches that she gave that day: "Remarks Upon Receipt of the Roosevelt Institute's Four Freedoms Medals Gala Dinner"[16] (after the previously analysed one) and "Remarks at Memorial Service on 9/11 for Terrence Lee Barnich"[17] (before the previously analysed one). The former seeks to remind the audience of the four freedoms that Franklin Roosevelt established, and the second one is a commemoration of Terrence Lee Barnich, to whose family Clinton reaches out with condolences on behalf of the United States. Doing a close reading of the two apparatuses, I aim to demonstrate how a diffractive reading of these three provide intra-actions binding the different entanglements of the event.

Let me start with the first one produced at the gala dinner. Even though the videos for these speeches are not provided, it can be imagined that this speech was materialized in a very different setting from the previous speech: here, Clinton is First Lady, thereby directly relating her to her husband. Although the speech takes place in a celebratory time, what happened on 9/11 is remembered twice, first at the beginning of the speech: "an extraordinary moment, and especially for this event to be held at the end of a long and emotional day for our city, our state, and our country. But I often believe that it is moments like this that are not only … yesterdays, but about tomorrows" (Roosevelt). These yesterdays-tomorrows could be contradictory to her presentation of herself in a past time, and remembering what the Roosevelts did is in fact part of the productive flux of virtual pasts and futures differing in the present virtuality of the subject. This mix at the level of experience provides Clinton with a strong argument for not only the four freedoms but also for the shift produced today: National Remembrance Day. As such, it is not a day just for remembering 9/11 but for remembering "American Freedom" as well. In this context, the freedoms of religion and from fear in particular take on significance: "[i]t's why we are encouraging people of different religions to come together not only in dialogue, but in service" (Roosevelt). It is precisely through reading this speech with the other that service is cast as a move towards a better "American" society in collaboration as well with "the non-for-profit sector, with citizen groups and civil society" (Roosevelt), thereby regulating associations such as MyGoodDeed for the purposes already mentioned. Thus, the non-profit sector will help the nation to "mov[e] away from extremism, mov[e] towards democracy" (Roosevelt) -- the strongest universal of United States.

Nevertheless, much more importance should be given to the freedom from fear in this "emotional day" since it can be achieved through "revers[ing] the spreads of nuclear weapons and [doing] much more to prevent their use" (Roosevelt). This comment receives applause from the audience. Even though the "fact" that the Iraqi people have nuclear weapons has not been proven, the end of the sentence very carefully materializes Iraq's actual possession of weapons since "the nation" also needs to prevent their use on behalf of one of the Four Freedoms. Likewise, Clinton materializes another reason why this day should be remembered -- not only for the servitude of the people of the United States, but also because, if a war on terror was initiated, it was on behalf of the "universal" four freedoms. She wisely ends the speech with a reference to the future, and makes the following comparison: "[i]n response to President Roosevelt's call to action, the citizens of the United States went to work. In response to the attacks of 9/11, the citizens of the United States went to serve" (Roosevelt). Reading this fact diffractively with the theory of affects, we can acknowledge one important force -- the enactment of the future yet to come (Clough et all, 2007: 63): "governance is now a matter of pre-emption, but not only to anticipate and control the emergent but rather to precipitate emergence and thereby act on a future that has not yet and may not ever arrive."

This yesterdays-tomorrows rhetoric emphasizes once again how important it is to look at apparatuses from a non-linear perspective of progressive narratives. The fact that the object of study has been parted from one apparatus, which was not the first one in the linear progression of traditional time, made a difference in understanding the materialization of the event. Politicians construct these imaginary worlds through partial pasts and imaginary futures. Thus, they create alternative realities which help them to pursue their desired objects. What is more, their speeches render "pre-emptive" power material, which, as Parisi and Goodman (2005 in Clough et al, 2007: 70) see it, aim "to manipulate memory by bringing the future into the present.... Uncertainty is made an experience of futurity in the present."

Allow me to turn to the other speech, that is, a "National Day of Mourning, as we remember the thousands of people who lost their lives in the attacks of September 11th" (Terrence). These victims are exemplified by "Terrence Lee Barnich," whose death materializes him as one of the heroes of the nation who will serve as an example of, precisely, servitude. Some parts of this speech are repeated afterwards (on that day) in the previous speech analysed: "He [Barnich] saw the opportunity to serve and he decided to answer that call.... And today, we honor the life and service of another hero" (Terrence). This enhances the dichotomy between heroes and others, a dichotomy which directs the citizens of the United States to be heroes instead of others in society by serving. In addition, this other "hero" becomes part of the One group exactly as Winuk did, blurring again the dichotomy of One/Other since they all serve as an example of other "Americans" to pursue servitude to their country. As such, Barnich, like Winuk, becomes part of the imaginary future that the speech is creating so that the subjects, to whom it is being addressed, will want to become heroes. Thanks to the individualization of the different heroes, a massive shift in conduct is being enacted. Service turns out to be the heroic conduct by "[taking] charge of the human multiplicity in order to individualize it, in such a way that the actions of the individual bodies composing the population would conform to norms of conduct" (Massumi, 2009: 156).

Together, the three speeches create the political event of the material-discursive shift towards the discourse of a "politics of servitude" and its materialization as an act of law. This event is a strength created by the system in order to repress or forget the day in which the United States failed their society and were as weak as any other country. It is not just a product of the government; it is not just a unidirectional power. Rather, it is a political event that directs the material on-going of the world in one way: servitude by controlling bodies even when they are already dead. That is to say, the event shows the discursive shift from a "politics of ideology" to a "politics of affection" (Massumi, 2005).

The bodies of the dead victims are the bodies that matter (Braidotti, 1994). Focusing on these bodies allows politicians to direct the nation's passion to the generation of a better society (according to their values/interests), as Clinton specified by referencing "American values." Beings want to protect their own materiality, their own bodies and their loved ones. As such, this change in discourse is one and the same with the material differings produced in Clinton's speeches. Fear moves people to accept these new "norms." Likewise, these norms become part of the political discourse, part of the machine that makes fear productive, demonstrating once again the material-discursive ongoing of the world as a whole. Nevertheless, them being part of the machine also brings small acts of resistance which matter in the life of society. That is to say, it was just by looking at the border of the apparatus that the "exteriority within" could be analysed. This notion provides a space of resistance that shifts a hypothetical future apparatus that not only shows the multi-directionality of power but that also joins the one/other in equal parts to the apparatus.


Meaning is transformed at the boundary of the apparatus. With Clinton, this transformation takes place in the message she delivers and the differing entanglements of the apparatus analysed. This message is a material-discursive practice that can be anticipated politically speaking and measured in more than a purely linguistic way. These forces intra-act in order to convey a shift in society; I have outlined these forces throughout by deploying the Baradian apparatus as a method of analysis. Likewise, I have pointed out the mechanism by which this shift takes place.

Empirically, Clinton becomes a biomediated body that excludes her from absolute agency, holding the multidirectionality of power in order to force concrete shifts in politics. She becomes part of the others; victims become part of the one, blurring this clear-cut division; hers is a diffracted self-hood The apparatus has proved to be the matter and the agent that historicizes boundaries, the object of study and the analytical tool. Thus, epistemologically I have tried to propose a methodology of new materialism in general, and to provide a theoretical background to start analysing political sciences in order to shed light on the mechanism of the change being produced in society instead of focusing on the results.

Politically speaking, this essay provides different conceptualizations of terms such as agency, subjectivity, one/other, and the different hierarchies that govern Western thought and enact inequalities in societies. Society, or the world in which we live, is qualitatively changing; power is being affected differently. There are numerous theories of why it is changing. Nonetheless, my question has not been why, but how: how are the actual discursive practices being materialized to affect power and how are these materializations affecting new elaborations of discursive practices? How is this re(con)figuration affecting political life and its relation with the material ongoing of the world? The theorization of how the world is changing is necessary both epistemologically and empirically. Political life has shifted its strategy from a politics of ideology to a politics of affection, a development that makes it even clearer that the relation between matter (body, affections) and discourse is necessary as the starting point of political analysis.


[1] The author used "global" but I prefer the neologism "glocal" for several reasons. My own definition of this term comes from precisely what new materialism advocates. I want to look at the political speech breaking through the dichotomies between global and local. Explicitly, I look at one determined speech (in its intra-relation with some others), that is local, and its unfolding in a global context. To see more about this intra-relation see Kirby, 2008 and Tuana, 2008.

[2] "I introduce the term 'intra-action' in recognition of ontological inseparability, in contrast to the usual 'interaction', which relies on a metaphysics of individualism (in particular, the prior existence of separately determined entities)" (Barad, 2007: 128). Because of this reason, from now on, the prefix "intra" will be used instead of "inter".

[3] I am aware of the problems that "epistemology" may present in terms of representation of knowledge (Heckman, 2010). Nevertheless, I think that epistemology is part of the breaking up of dualisms that this theory postulates. Thus, epistemology and ontology go hand in hand (Barad, 2007; Tuana, 2008). In addition, I consider the practices of knowing part of the apparatus because of its instrumental character.

[4] Dichotomizing culture and nature is another stake which new materialism and numerous theoreticians are moving away from. For an extensive discussion on this subject see (for example) Kirby, 2008; or Haraway, 2008.

[5] Colebrook, 2008, 64.

[6] This is an aspect further developed by Grosz's (2005b) "politics of the process".

[7] The third one will be the consideration of the political phenomena, that is to say, the intra-relating of Clinton's and other politician. This has been done in my thesis with Fernández de la Vega, the former Vice-president of Spain. This layer makes possible the comparison between countries. In other words, it serves as the proof that this method creates patterns of analysis valid to understand the phenomenon universally in its particularities, that is, glocally.

[8] Last accessed on 1st/12/2010. This "mission" is worth commenting on. It reinforces not just the very dangerous "American" metonymy which makes the whole continent invisible, but it also includes within its own duties the pursuit of the benefit of the "international community". Even though the term international community is problematic since its reference is unknown, it falls into essentializing and universalizing the whole International community equating their benefits with the "American" ones. The syntactic position of the semantic beneficiaries "American people" is situated first and according to the generic grammatical rule by which in English, the order of importance is directly related to the syntactic position of the elements (Martínez-Cabeza, 2003). It is clear that even though the supposed benefits of the mission are directed towards "American people" and the "international community", it is the first one the most important element. Linking this to be the universalizing idea, we encounter what Stoler (2009: 257) defined as "what goes without saying": "American" values are profitable for all nations, another example of the ideology implicit in what is "innocently" considered as common sense. In addition, the use of certain lexicon is not arbitrary. "Mission" is a word which has been intimately linked to religion. They were and still are carried out by Christians mainly in Africa and some countries in South America. They spread the word of God to those who cannot read or who do not know yet how "beneficial" Christianity could be to them. There were also the well-known crusades against Muslims. It inter-connects with notions of the hero and the victim which will be explained later on.

[9] "Under the Constitution, the President of the United States determines U.S. foreign policy. The Secretary of State, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, is the President's chief foreign affairs adviser". Last accessed 1st/12/2010

[10] The information obtained about this museum can be found on its official website: Last accessed: 9th/12/2010

[11] I am not implying, however, that the discourse of fear has totally disappeared. It continues to permeate the whole speech, as for example: "Today, we know that the threat of violent extremism still remains. And our nation has to be vigilant. We have to be strong in the face of those who would seek to do harm to our people, our nation, and our values" Remembrance.

[12] Clinton, H. (11th/09/2009): "Remarks at National Day of Service and Remembrance," From now on, I will refer to this speech as Remembrance.

[13] By abstract concept of nation I mean not only the idea of "America", meaning the fact that it is totalizing the whole continent on behalf of just one country (so imposing values and material-discursive rules on the whole continent; but also the strong material metaphor which makes the individual disappear in order to categorize her or him under this unified label of "nation".

[14] I find it particularly interesting that she uses "citizen" instead of "first lady", the term she used in her first speeches as Secretary of State. Here, we can appreciate another shift in her own material-discourse as Secretary of State. At the beginning, it was easier for her to present herself to the people of the United States as former First Lady. By now, however, this issue has overcome the importance of her political career and she has shifted it to "citizen". One example of this can be found in the following question elaborated in August (one month before this intervention) in the Democratic Republic of Congo:

[15] This process is completed in my own thesis by which two events (Clinton's and Fernández de la Vega's) are folded into one, which is what I termed the political phenomena.

[16] From now on it will be referred to as Roosevelt.

[17] From now on it will be referred to as Terrence.

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Beatriz Revelles-Benavente is a PhD student at the Open University of Barcelona, Spain. She is also part of the research team HUM592 Reception, Modes and Genres in Literature in the English language. She wrote her Master's thesis on the analysis of the political speech of Hillary Clinton and María Teresa Fernández de la Vega from a new materialist perspective, applying the Baradian apparatus in her analysis. For her PhD thesis, she is applying the diffractive methodology of new materialist theory to literature, particularly the work of Toni Morrison.

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