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Geoffrey Yeo - Speech Act Theory and Concepts of the Record

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Published on Nov 10, 2010

Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by the School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies (SLAIS). The philosophers J. L. Austin and John Searle developed speech act theory in the twentieth century. This talk will provide a brief introduction to the theory and then explore some aspects of it that seem relevant to concepts in archival science. Mr. Yeo will focus on connections between speech act theory and a conceptualization of records as persistent representations, ideas about the role of representation in the performance of speech acts, the potential impact of speech act theory on perceptions of the record as a source of information, and/or the importance of societal conventions in understanding the affinities of records to human action. He will argue that records have performative characteristics and that speech act theory can help us to comprehend the relations between records, actions and events.

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