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New Work on Speech Acts$
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Daniel Fogal, Daniel W. Harris, and Matt Moss

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198738831

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198738831.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 January 2021

On Covert Exercitives

On Covert Exercitives

Speech and the Social World

(p.185) 8 On Covert Exercitives
New Work on Speech Acts

Mary Kate McGowan

Oxford University Press

It is familiar from speech act theory how saying so can make it so. When the C.E.O. declares that no more overtime will be approved, for example, the C.E.O. thereby enacts a new company policy; her words effect an immediate change to the norms and policies operative in that company. Clearly, speech can enact facts about what is permissible and the familiar way for speech to do this is via an exercise of speaker authority. In this essay, though, I argue for a different way that speech enacts permissibility facts. Starting in the kinematics (i.e. the mechanics) of conversation, I first argue that conversational contributions routinely enact norms for the very conversation to which they contribute. I then argue that this phenomenon generalizes in a way that illuminates the crucial role of speech in enacting and perpetuating social hierarchy.

Keywords:   permission, exercitive, speech acts, authority, conversation

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