Performative Force, Convention, and Discursive Injustice

Hypatia 29 (2):440-457 (2014)
Abstract
I explore how gender can shape the pragmatics of speech. In some circumstances, when a woman deploys standard discursive conventions in order to produce a speech act with a specific performative force, her utterance can turn out, in virtue of its uptake, to have a quite different force—a less empowering force—than it would have if performed by a man. When members of a disadvantaged group face a systematic inability to produce a specific kind of speech act that they are entitled to perform—and in particular when their attempts result in their actually producing a different kind of speech act that further compromises their social position and agency—then they are victims of what I call discursive injustice. I examine three examples of discursive injustice. I contrast my account with Langton and Hornsby's account of illocutionary silencing. I argue that lack of complete control over the performative force of our speech acts is universal, and not a special marker of social disadvantage. However, women and other relatively disempowered speakers are sometimes subject to a distinctive distortion of the path from speaking to uptake, which undercuts their social agency in ways that track and enhance existing social disadvantages.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1527-2001.2012.01316.x
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References found in this work BETA
Speech Acts and Unspeakable Acts.Rae Langton - 1993 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 22 (4):293-330.
On the Name.Jacques Derrida - 1995 - Stanford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA
Slurs, Roles and Power.Mihaela Popa-Wyatt & Jeremy L. Wyatt - 2017 - Philosophical Studies:1-28.
Sincerity Silencing.Mary Kate Mcgowan - 2014 - Hypatia 29 (2):458-473.
Ingrouping, Outgrouping, and the Pragmatics of Peripheral Speech.Cassie Herbert & Rebecca Kukla - 2016 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 2 (4):576-596.

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