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The Poetics of Meaningful Work: an Analogy to Speech Acts

Mei, Todd (2018) The Poetics of Meaningful Work: an Analogy to Speech Acts. Philosophy and Social Criticism, 45 (1). pp. 50-70. ISSN 0191-4537. (doi:10.1177/0191453718768359) (KAR id:66592)

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Meaningful work refers to the idea that human work is an integral part of the way we think of our lives as going well. The concept is prevalent in sociology and business studies. In philosophy, its discussion tends to revolve around matters of justice and whether the State should take steps to eradicate meaningless work. However, despite the breadth of the recent, general literature, there is little to no discussion about how it is in fact the case that work is meaningful. There is a basic assumption that certain facts about work make it meaningful. After noting the shortcomings in the literature, this essay argues that we can better understand the production of meaning in work by an analogy to speech acts. Using Paul Ricoeur’s theory of action as discourse, one can see how meaning is predicated in the performance of work in ways that are locutionary, illocutionary, and perlocutionary.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0191453718768359
Uncontrolled keywords: action, Austin, capability, illocution, locution, meaningful work, perlocution, Ricoeur, Searle, speech acts
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Todd Mei
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2018 12:31 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 03:26 UTC
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