Benveniste and the Periperformative Structure of the Pragmeme

Douglas Robinson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In his attempt to impose a counterintuitive binary on the “personal” pronouns—arguing that the first and second persons “personalize” and the third person “depersonalizes”—Émile Benveniste creates a cognitive dissonance that drives us to consider a startling observation: that there is a virtual third person that haunts the first and second persons as a “witness” to the performative interactions between the “I” and the “you.” This chapter draws on Eve Sedgwick’s (Touching feeling: affect, pedagogy, performativity. Duke University Press, Durham, 2003) notion of the “periperformative” to explore the “I-you-they” structure of the pragmeme.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPragmemes and Theories of Language Use
EditorsKeith Allan, Alessandro Capone, Istvan Kecskes
PublisherSpringer Cham
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783319434919
ISBN (Print)9783319434902, 9783319828381
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2017

Publication series

NamePerspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy and Psychology
ISSN (Print)2214-3807
ISSN (Electronic)2214-3815

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language

User-Defined Keywords

  • Benveniste
  • I
  • Periperformative
  • Pronouns
  • Sedgwick
  • They
  • You


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