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Clarity, Cut, and CultureThe Many Meanings of Diamonds$
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Susan Falls

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479810666

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479810666.001.0001

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Diamonds and Performance

Diamonds and Performance

(p.158) 6 Diamonds and Performance
Clarity, Cut, and Culture

Susan Falls

NYU Press

This chapter explores how diamonds, like linguistic utterances, are both “in and of the world” and as such, are used performatively. Wearing a diamond can be partly a performative action meant to change the world in some observable way—diamonds do things. These performances take place in a social landscape, but their insertion is varied because agency and creativity loom large. The presence of performative elements in the narratives collected suggests that a focus on the individual—who is embedded in a social group, discursive universe, and commodity chain—clarifies how diamonds are used in the everyday making of life. Combining John Langshaw Austin's How to Do Things with Words (1962) with the growing attention to idiosyncrasy in linguistics, the chapter examines how diamonds are wielded. Consumers reported that they use diamonds in ways that suggest “performance,” but they do so contextually, with intended outcomes shifting over time and place.

Keywords:   diamond, linguistic utterances, performance, social landscape, social group, discursive universe, commodity chain, John Langshaw Austin, How to Do Things with Words, linguistics

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