Performativity: Lyotard and Foucault Through Searle and Austin

Studies in Philosophy and Education 18 (5):309-317 (1999)
Lyotard talks of performativity or the subsumption of education to the efficient functioning of the social system. Education is no longer to be concerned with the pursuit of ideals such as that of personal autonomy or emancipation, but with the means, techniques or skills that contribute to the efficient operation of the state in the world market and contribute to maintaining the internal cohesion and legitimation of the state. But this requires individuals of a certain kind -- not Kantian autonomous persons but Foucault's normalized and governable individuals. In constituting such individuals discourse is critically important. But how discourse effects this through the force of language is not fully developed by Foucault. This paper draws upon the performative account of language offered by John Austin to develop more fully comments made by Foucault on the force or effects of language in constituting normalized and governable individuals for the march of performativity
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