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How Performatives Fail: Misfire, crossfire, friendly fire, backfire. Dr Ric...

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Southern Cross University, Gold Coast Campus

Southern Cross Dr

Bilinga, QLD 4225

Australia

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Venue: Gold Coast A2.14; with video conference link to Lismore LIS-P1.58 and Coffs Harbour COF-A1.20.

How Performatives Fail: Misfire, crossfire, friendly fire, backfire.

J. L. Austin noted that performatives can (a) 'misfire', for example, baptising penguins, or naming a ship the Mister Stalin if the person launching the ship was not authorised to do so. Here I explore three other communicative or performative failures, and consider some of their consequences: (b) 'crossfire', where the speaker denies the listener's subjectivity and their opportunity to be heard; (c) 'friendly fire', when a legal performative is so 'user friendly' that we mistake its legal import (e.g. if we mistake a traffic infringement for a bill); and (d) 'backfire', the mutual invocation of blasphemy and curse used against others in a multicultural or multireligious community.

Dr Richard Mohr is a sociologist (PhD UNSW) specialising in legal and urban issues. He is director of Social Research, Policy and Planning, incorporated in Australia. He has been manager of a community health service, a consultant on urban planning and social justice issues, and director of the Legal Intersections Research Centre at the University of Wollongong, Australia, where he taught in the Law Faculty (1992-2011). He has held visiting positions and taught at McGill University, the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney. He was managing editor of Law Text Culture from 2002 to 2011. He has edited Law and Religion in Public Life: The Contemporary Debate, with Nadirsyah Hosen (Routledge, 2013). Many of his articles from socio-legal and semiotic journals are at https://independentresearcher.academia.edu/RichardMohr

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Southern Cross University, Gold Coast Campus

Southern Cross Dr

Bilinga, QLD 4225

Australia

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