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How to Undo Things with Words: Infelicitous Practices and Infelicitous Agents

1 January 2007


This paper offers a new interpretation of Austin (the New Austin) that overcomes the Austin- Derrida debate by dissolving the dichotomy between construction and deconstruction and focusing on the notion of performative reconstruction. The essay also contains a discussion of the normative distinction between felicity and infelicity and how it affects the identity of speakers and agents. This discussion draws on recent Gender and Queer Theory and builds a bridge between the literature on identity and Speech Act Theory. The central argument in this paper proposes a negotiating model of performativity and a robust notion of discursive responsibility that underscores the intimate and unavoidable links between the semantic and the socio-political.


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