Exploring the Protest Language of Songs: We Shall Overcome and 99 Luftballons/99 Red Balloons

  • Mary Lynne Gasaway Hill


In this chapter, the protest songs We Shall Overcome and 99 Luftballons/ 99 Red Balloons are examined within the deep stories of their respective contexts, the segregated Southern United States and the Cold War, particularly in West Germany. Each song is then analyzed as a performative within the framework of the renovated felicity conditions, introduced in Chapter 2 based on Austin’s Speech Act Theory, for the speech act of protest. Each analysis focuses on the presuppositional conditions regarding convention, circumstance, words, persons, effects, and positionings, followed by the aspirational conditions with a focus on thoughts, intention, risk, commitment, and subsequent actions. These analyses include discussions of identity in terms of convocativity as well as how these speech acts attain pragmatic legitimacy through the fulfillment of the felicity conditions.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of English and Communication StudiesSt. Mary’s University, TexasSan AntonioUSA

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