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Interlocution and public Places

Current research programs




Interlocution and public Places



Director: Bertrand Masquelier


This research program is based on the study of speech events and speech acts heard and uttered in natural situations, i.e. not elicited. Our main focus is on the interactions between participants in speech acts, speech events and speech situations, which we have narrowed down to just a few ways of speaking/forms of talk, in order to concentrate on their intrinsically social characteristics and the analysis of how actions are put into words. Three domains in particular have drawn our attention: forms of talk relating to gathering proof (e.g. in the courtroom); relating to the search for the truth (e.g. in divinatory arts in Romania); and lastly speech acts produced in the performing arts, for example in street shows put on during Carnival. Prior research, namely on political rhetoric and on how speaking turns are granted and obtained, informs our research on how public spaces come into being.
In our research, public spaces are considered areas where interlocution and encounters take place. Particular attention is paid to certain striking features: the status granted to politics in public places; the "visibility" granted to specific types of social behavior, in contrast to the secrecy which surrounds more confidential types (for example in divination); the processes through which common grounds are defined; how places are used; the status allotted to rituals and performances in the creation of shared social constructs.
For each of these aspects, we attempt to take into consideration which ways of speaking/forms of talk are allowed – while also bearing in mind the fact that the rules and accepted norms of language use in public (or private) spaces can be contested.


The seminars are generally held on Thursdays from 10-12:30am at the Lacito, 3rd floor, room 311. Some are public ones:

  • Friday 18 March 2011
    Bertrand MasquelierUne menace, quand bien même chantée, est bien une menace sous certaines conditions ; autant l'entourer de précautions oratoires. Les paroles chantées sur scène d'un calypso politique (Trinidad).
    A partir d'un enregistrement sonore d'une représentation scènique.
    La problématique est suggérée par le commentaire de J. Austin (Quand dire c'est faire) : "Nos énonciations performatives, heureuses ou non, doivent être entendues comme prononcées dans des circonstances ordinaires." (p. 55 de la traduction française).

  • 14 May 2009
    Bertrand MasquelierComment s'excuser d'une fausse note : petite dramaturgie d'un événement musical un soir de décembre 1946, sur la scène du Town Hall de New York
  • 23 November 2006
    Nicolas Fasseur Les plaques commémoratives de la Libération de Paris, des objets ritualisés dans l'espace public

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