Giving uptake: theoretical issues and sociopolitical implications
In speech act theory, ‘uptake’ traditionally captures the hearer’s understanding of what the speaker is saying and doing with words. Uptake is given pride of place in J.L. Austin’s framework, in which the felicity of illocutionary acts is taken to be partly dependent upon the achievement (or securing) of the audience’s uptake. The aim of this paper is to illuminate the political potential of uptake – to investigate the role of uptake (and uptake failure) in the economy of our social and political lives. I argue that uptake figures as a key ingredient in forms of illocutionary injustice, on the one hand, and of illocutionary resistance, on the other. If I am right, then the notion of uptake has implications reaching far beyond the theoretical arena
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