Zohar Kampf

Prof. Zohar Kampf

Research Fellow
Zohar  Kampf

Research Abstract

"How to do War and Peace with Words?
Mediated Speech Acts In the processes of Escalation and Reconciliation"
Speech act theory attempts to explain how communicative intentions are encoded in humane communication, embedded within specific context and realized in order to transform social realities (Austin, 1962, Searle, 1969). Although several studies have analyzed speech acts in public and mediated contexts, especially in the context of reconciliation (Brooks, 1999; Gibney, et al., 2008; Lind, 2008; Nobles, 2008; Kampf, 2012; Kampf and Lowenheim, 2012), there is a dearth of research on how the conditions of mediation change the logic and performativity of speech acts. This proposal aims at filling the theoretical lacuna and to suggest a mediated-pragmatics framework for the analysis of speech acts in the context of war and peace processes. Thus, the goal of the suggested research is twofold:

1) Developing theoretical framework for the analysis of speech-acts in public contexts: I ask how the mediated conditions of contemporary public discourse change the ways in which speech acts are performed, interpreted and processed in public arenas? Answering this question will facilitate the adaptation of speech act theory to suit the social and technological conditions of our time.    

2) Analyzing the pragmatic construction of rituals and processes of escalation and reconciliation. Based on the theoretical framework, the study aims at understanding how mediated speech acts serve as building blocks and flammable materials of war and peace discourses.       

3) Methodologically, the study will focus on three speech acts related to the discourses of peace and conflict: threats, condemnations and "trust building” acts. The analysis of modes of speech acts' realization, interpretation and their role in constructing political processes will allow us to identify blocks and facilitators of peace discourse as well as adjust speech act theory to the empirical research in the social sciences.

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