Social Theory and Practice

Volume 42, Issue 2, April 2016

Dominating Speech

Rachel Ann McKinney
Pages 258-284

Extracted Speech

Much recent philosophical work argues that power constrains speech—pornography silences women, testimonial injustice thwarts a speaker’s transmission of knowledge, bias distorts the performative force of subordinated speech. Though the constraints that power places on speech are serious, power also enables some speech. Power doesn’t just keep us from speaking—it also makes us speak. In this paper I explore how power produces, rather than constrains, speech. I discuss a kind of speech I call extracted speech: speech that is unjustly elicited from an agent. I discuss examples of coerced confession, intimidated “consent,” and mandatory self-disclosure as instances of extracted speech, and theorize a bit about what significance this speech has more generally for philosophy of language and political philosophy.