Article published in:Hate speech: Definitions, interpretations and practices
Edited by Fabienne H. Baider, Sharon Millar and Stavros Assimakopoulos
[Pragmatics and Society 11:2] 2020
► pp. 177–195
Incitement to discriminatory hatred, illocution and perlocution
Even though there seem to be no objectively defined criteria about what constitutes hate speech, a lot of legislation and policy making currently aims at combating it. This paper sets out to define hate speech under its standard legal understanding of ‘incitement to discriminatory hatred’, by adopting a speech-act theoretic perspective. My main proposal is that the Austinian distinction between illocution and perlocution can be pivotal in this process, since hate speech may be an illocutionary act that is typically tied to the recognition of a speaker’s intention to incite discriminatory hatred, but one which can only be defined if one takes into account its speaker’s intended perlocutionary effects; that is, the intention of the speaker to trigger a particular kind of response from some audience. Against this backdrop, I turn to show how a reworked Searlean notion of felicity conditions can be usefully applied in the delineation of hate speech under this legal conception.
Keywords: hate speech, incitement, discriminatory discourse, speech act theory, illocution, perlocution
- 1.The elusiveness of hate speech
- 2.Illocution, perlocution and the remit of hate speech law
- 3.Defining hate speech under the incitement to discriminatory hatred criterion
- 4.Concluding remarks
Published online: 13 July 2020
Assimakopoulos, Stavros, Fabienne Baider, and Sharon Millar
Baider, Fabienne, Stavros Assimakopoulos, and Sharon Millar
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