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n Acta Germanica : German Studies in Africa - Das Performative der Sprache und historisches Trauma : Atemschaukel von Herta Müller
Language performativity and historical trauma : Atemschaukel by Herta Müller
Many literary theorists have used and further developed Austin's notion of speech act theory, in which he focused on the performative aspect of language. The performative describes language as not merely being descriptive, but as a functional act. Thinkers like Bourdieu emphasized the social context of language utterances, as indispensable to the importance and social impact it might have. In this paper, aspects of the performative are used to describe the dynamics of literary trauma representation. The performative is identified both within the literary text itself and in its interrelation with its context. As such, the productive use of performative theory is implied, as historical trauma itself goes beyond the single representation, by being part of a social discourse. In order to illustrate this, relevant aspects of the novel Atemschaukel, by German writer, Herta Müller, are analysed.
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