Johnson, Laurie (2006) The unstated. In: UnAustralia: Cultural Studies Association of Australasia Annual Conference, 6-8 Dec 2006, Canberra, Australia.
To say that the phrase ‘X is unaustralian’ is an unethical statement would seem to be stating the obvious. Yet we must delve beyond the obvious nature of this observation by examining whether an ethical framework could indeed accommodate this phrase. With reference to the work of Emmanuel Levinas and others, this paper will argue in the first instance that the epithet ‘unaustralian’ is indeed an unethical attribution since it denies the subject of the phrase any possibility of entering into a responsive relation with the speaker. In the second instance, however, I will go further to argue that not only is this an unethical statement, ‘X is unaustralian’ is in fact no kind of statement at all: it is an unstatement. Levinas’s distinction between the time of the Saying and the time of the Said enables us to show that the phrase ‘X is unaustralian’ forecloses on the possibility of respondence by consigning the subject of the statement to the category of the Said, but the word ‘unaustralian’ remains sufficient only so long as it renders its universe of possible meanings concealed: its plenitude inheres in that which must be left unsaid. In a Levinasian sense, then, the word ‘unaustralian’ will always be untimely, belonging neither to the time of the Saying nor to the time of the Said, and relegates its speaker to a space outside any possible ethical relation but also, I suggest, to the realm of the unintelligible: the unstated.
|Item Type:||Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)|
|Additional Information:||No evidence of copyright restrictions.|
|Uncontrolled Keywords:||unaustralian, language, Levinas, Australia, Australian, discourse, rhetoric, ethics, politics|
|Subjects:||440000 Philosophy and Religion > 440100 Philosophy > 440108 Philosophy of Language
440000 Philosophy and Religion > 440100 Philosophy > 440103 Ethical Theory
420000 Language and Culture > 420300 Cultural Studies > 420302 Cultural Theory
|Depositing User:||Assoc Prof Laurence Johnson|
|Date Deposited:||11 Oct 2007 00:49|
|Last Modified:||02 Jul 2013 22:39|
Actions (login required)
|Archive Repository Staff Only|