Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/11499
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Improvisation in the disorders of desire: Performativity, passion and moral education
Authors: Munday, Ian
Contact Email: ian.munday@stir.ac.uk
Keywords: performative utterance
passionate utterance
performativity
iterability
perlocutions
Issue Date: Nov-2010
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Citation: Munday I (2010) Improvisation in the disorders of desire: Performativity, passion and moral education, Ethics and Education, 5 (3), pp. 281-297.
Abstract: In this article, I attempt to bring some colour to a discussion of fraught topics in education. Though the scenes and stories (from education and elsewhere) that feature here deal with racism, the discussion aims to say something to such topics more generally. The philosophers whose work I draw on here are Stanley Cavell and Judith Butler. Both Butler and Cavell develop (or depart from) J.L. Austin's theory of the performative utterance. Butler, following Derrida, argues that in concentrating on the illocutionary force of utterances (their capacity to do things), Austin fails to account for the force of words themselves. The iterability of language means that words are never at one with themselves. They carry their old contexts with them as they enter into new ones. This has important consequences for ethical issues that pertain to what Butler calls the 'performativity' of gender and race. Though we are performed by language, this performance has a dynamic quality that leads to the reshaping of identity. In contrast, for Cavell, the disappointing aspect of Austin's thought relates to the latter's neglect of the perlocutionary effect of language – what is done 'by words'. By taking on this project, Cavell embraces the unconventional aspects of language characterised by 'passionate' expression and exchange. Butler and Cavell approach the performative utterance from different directions. In the last part of this article, the significance of this difference is discussed in relation to the provision of a moral education with regard to tackling issues surrounding racism.
Type: Journal Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/11499
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17449642.2010.533469
Rights: The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
Affiliation: Initial Teacher Education

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