The Topicality and Performativity of the Word

Krzysztof Skorulski

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12775/PCh.2015.001

Abstract


The recent popularity of words like “performative” or “performance” expresses as an obvious thing that the human word does not only describe something, but it also performs something. In this article, the issue of the power of the spoken language will be analyzed in view of the concepts of such thinkers as Ferdinand Ebner, John L. Austin, Emile Benveniste, and Pierre Bourdieu. At first, following Ebner’s line, it is analyzed the personal and factual “actuality” of the word, and how the “actual word” gets its power of acting. Ebner distinguishes here between a maieutic and a generative power. His ideas get subsequently confronted with the thought of Austin and his concepts of a constative and performative utterance. Then Benveniste’s idea of “performativity” and Bourdieu’s one of “social magic” are presented. It is interesting how Ebner’s dialogical thinking widens the modern linguistic and sociologist concepts. According to the analysis of the thoughts coming from such different disciplines and different ways of thinking it is tried to work out the concrete suggestions, significant also for pedagogics. In short, the teacher’s word, to have power, needs a specific balance between dialogic attitude and authority coming from the teacher’s social function.


Keywords


performance; performative utterance; constative utterance; phi- losophy of dialogue; Ferdinand Ebner; John L. Austin; Emile Benveniste; Pierre Bourdieu

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References


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