Saturday, November 03, 2012

performative utterance

John Austin, in his 1960 book How to Do Things with Words, calls “performative utterances,” often used as a means of social control. A “performative utterance” is a word or phrase that actually accomplishes something in the real world. When a judge says, “Guilty,” to a defendant, or a groom says, “I do,” the words alter material reality.