Genocidal Language Games

In Ishani Maitra & Mary Kate McGowan (eds.), Speech and Harm: Controversies Over Free Speech. Oxford University Press. pp. 174--221 (2012)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

This chapter examines the role played by derogatory terms (e.g., ‘inyenzi’ or cockroach, ‘inzoka’ or snake) in laying the social groundwork for the genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994. The genocide was preceded by an increase in the use of anti-Tutsi derogatory terms among the Hutu. As these linguistic practices evolved, the terms became more openly and directly aimed at Tutsi. Then, during the 100 days of the genocide, derogatory terms and coded euphemisms were used to direct killers to their victims. Understanding these speech acts helps to illuminate the important ways that power is enacted through discourse, how speech acts can prepare the way for physical and material acts, and how speech generates permissions for actions hitherto uncountenanced. Studying the role of speech acts and linguistic practices in laying the groundwork of the genocide illuminates how patterns of speech acts become linguistic practices that constitute permissibility conditions for non-linguistic behaviors. Further, the analysis presented here helps to make sense of the view that a steady, deep, and widespread derogation of a group can be part and parcel of genocide, not only an antecedent to it.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,219

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2012-01-19

Downloads
815 (#17,651)

6 months
86 (#47,495)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Lynne Tirrell
University of Connecticut

Citations of this work

Stop Talking about Fake News!Joshua Habgood-Coote - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (9-10):1033-1065.
Dogwhistles, Political Manipulation, and Philosophy of Language.Jennifer Saul - 2018 - In Daniel Fogal, Harris Daniel & Moss Matt (eds.), New Work on Speech Acts. Oxford University Press. pp. 360–383.

View all 66 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references