Silencing Speech with Pornography

Laura Caponetto


The aim of this paper is to offer a map of the dynamics through which pornography may silence women’s illocutions. Drawing on Searle’s speech act theory, I will take illocutionary forces as sets of conditions for success. The different types of silencing, I claim, originate from the hearer’s missed recognition of a specific component of the force of the speaker’s act. In addition to the varieties already discussed in literature (which I label essential, authority, and sincerity silencing), I shall finally consider another kind of silencing produced by the failure to acknowledge the speaker’s words as serious (seriousness silencing).


silencing; speech acts; pornography; misrecognition; disempowerment

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