Political Discourse and the Theory of Speech Acts

Author:Mirela Arsith
Interdisciplinary Dimensions of Communication Science
Political Discourse and the Theory of Speech Acts
Mirela Arsith1
Abstract: The hypothesis from which we start of is that of political discourse, in its quality of practical
discourse in order to be analyzed through the theory of speech acts, dominated by the use theory rule o f
meaning, which refers to the context of communication and human behavior. The theory of speech acts rise
the issue of significance dependence, not the mere use of language, but the acting context of utterance, that the
utterance fact, the latter n ot being a simple statement of something. J. L. Austin makes a first distinction
between constitutive statements, which only say something, establishing a state of things, the truth of a fact
and the performative utterances which are th e performance of an action. Along with the locutionary act which
manifests as utterance, as formulatin g sentences, the perlocutionary act, produced by the fact of having to say
something, followed by the effects on a locutionary, either on the speakers, existing the illocutionary act,
which is to commit something by enunciation, revealing a certain value and “force”: information, promise,
demand, order, request, warning, advice, etc. B y extending the characteristics of speech acts at the level of
political discourse, we can say that it manifests itself as an entity resulting from the identical meaning of
producing the statements that composes it, of the illocutionary force marking the enunciation and the effects
by which it is achieved a certain performance.
Keywords: performative utterance; illocutionary act; enunciation
1. Introduction
The argumentative foundation from which we plan to start analyzing this issue is assuming
communication as always being a major social and political fact, with an essential contribution in
establishing the social order. The discourse is, simultaneously, a specific way of action, a way of
representation, but also a linguistic approach that speakers act upon the world and especially on their
peers. Political discourse, as a species of the genre, subsumes these traits. In this context, there should
be approached the performative aspects of communication ,J. L. Austin, an important representative of
the “Literary” School at Oxford, in How to do Things with Words, made an initial distinction between
constitutive utterances that just say something, establish a state of things, the truth of a fact and the
performative utterances which are, by themselves, the performance of an action.
1 Associate Professor, PhD, Dean of Faculty of Communication and International Relations, “Danubius” University of Galati,
Romania, Address: 3 Galati Boulevard, 800654 Galati, Romania, Tel.: +40.372.361.102, fax: +40.372.361.290,
Corresponding author: arsith.mirela@univ-danubius.ro.

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