John L. Austin's Speech Acts and Its Application to a Nigerian Context

The Nuntius: A Philosophical Periodical 1 (1):11-13 (2023)
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In this paper, I transcend the abstract engagement of J. L. Austin's Speech Acts theory and explore their sociopolitical advantages, using the Nigerian social space as my primary experimental field. Nigerian social space is quite hierarchical and progresses along apparently asymmetrical lines of social relationship (in most cases). This in turn, accentuates some sort of power dynamics. In every communication, there is an implicit reinforcement of the social fabric as well as the power dynamic, either through one person's percep6of the social status of the other or, of one's emphasis of power dynamic over the other. Austin's theory comes to the fore as a very laudable framework to map this interesting sociological facts. This work then, offers a philosophical contribution to an otherwise, sociological/anthropological fact. My job in this paper, is to explore a sociopolitical negotiation of Austin's theory in a multiethnic nation-state as Nigeria where hierarchy and power dynamics are heavily emphasized. This paper thus highlights the importance of the perlocutionary acts and the felicity conditions, and also accentuates their implications for social interactions and power dynamics in the Nigerian social space.

Author's Profile

John Owen E. Adimike
Università Pontificia Salesiana


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