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John F. Whitmire

Sartre's Les Mots has given rise to widely divergent competing readings in the philosophical literature, which tend to view it either as a simple continuation of his earlier, radical libertarianism, or as part of an alleged wholesale renunciation of the position we find in his early texts. I argue that most of these readings ignore the very real tensions in Words between the freedom of consciousness and the weight of circumstances. I further argue that Les Mots is a performative text whose double writing (originally composed 1954-1957; rewritten 1963) demonstrates for us that, whereas we cannot simply renounce our past and the original meanings mediated to us in childhood through our families, we do have the power to take it up in ways that skew those meanings in somewhat different directions. No matter what we do, however, the blurred outlines of those original meanings will always remain.

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Performing Identity

Early Seventeenth-Century Travelers to the Ruins of Troy

Vassiliki Markidou

The article focuses on three early-seventeenth-century (English and Scottish) leisure travelers’ accounts of the (alleged) ruins of Homeric Troy, namely those penned by Thomas Coryat, William Lithgow, and George Sandys. It argues that their rumination on the specific remains both shaped and reflected their manifold, fractured, and precarious identities while it also highlighted the complex dialogue taking place in these texts between a ruinous past and a fragmented and malleable present. The essay also examines the three travelers’ broken poetics, interspersed in the aforementioned accounts, and shows that they constitute highly self-aggrandizing narratives through which their authors perform their fragile identities.

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Rebecca M. Schreiber

Tenosique , Tabasco. In Walking the Beast (2014), which they performed on the Suchiate River between Guatemala and Mexico, a group of Central American youth used their bodies to make visible how agreements between the United States and Mexico emphasize

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“I Am Trying” to Perform Like an Ideal Boy

The Construction of Boyhood through Corporal Punishment and Educational Discipline in Taare Zameen Par

Natasha Anand

simultaneously on two temporal planes—he is both passive and active, dependent and independent, scapegoat and transgressor. Even though Ishaan must perform 2 painfully according to the cultural directives laid down by ruthless institutional regimes for accession

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Performing the Hyphen

Engaging German-Jewishness at the Jewish Museum Berlin

Jackie Feldman and Anja Peleikis

The Jewish Museum Berlin (JMB) is a dynamic, performative space that negotiates between representing the Jew as an integral part of German history and as ultimate Other. While this tension has been documented through the political history of the museum (Lackmann 2000; Pieper 2006; Young 2000), we focus on the dynamics of guided tours and special events. We claim that guiding and festival events at JMB marginalise Holocaust memory and present an image of Jews of the past that promotes a multicultural vision of present-day Germany. In guiding performances, the identity of the guide as German/Jewish/Muslim is part of the guiding performance, even when not made explicit. By comparing tour performances for various publics, and the 'storytelling rights' granted by the group, we witness how visitors' scripts and expectations interact with the museum's mission that it serve as a place of encounter (Ort der Begegnung). As German-Jewish history at JMB serves primarily as a cosmopolitan template for intercultural relations, strongly affiliated local Jews may not feel a need for the museum. Organised groups of Jews from abroad, however, visit it as part of the Holocaust memorial landscape of Berlin, while many local Jews with weaker affiliations to the Jewish community may find it an attractive venue for performing their more fluid Jewish identities – for themselves and for others.

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Performing the Border

Cartographic Enactments of the German-Polish Border among German and Polish High-school Pupils

Marie Sandberg

On the basis of fieldwork conducted in the two towns Görlitz and Zgorzelec, situated directly on the German-Polish border, this article explores how different versions of the border are enacted among Polish and German high-school pupils. As is usually the case with borders, the German-Polish border has a multiple, even ambivalent character. Inspired by the performative approach within actor-network theory, this article aims to qualify the concept of the multiple border, where multiplicity is understood as heterogeneous practices and patterns of absences and presences that constitute the border. The data, based on ethnographic fieldwork, consist of 'cartographies', maps made by the pupils, followed up by 'walking conversations' in the two towns on the border. The analysis shows that the border is not only enacted differently; also it is suggested that the performances all deal with and constitute an ambivalent border.

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Living History, Performing Coloniality

Towards a Postcolonial Ethnography

Sitara Thobani

The self-reflexivity of anthropologists entails engaging with the forceful critiques emanating from within the discipline with regard to its relationship to the colonial project. However, the question remains as to what a postcolonial ethnographic project might look like. That is, while anthropologists engage with critiques from postcolonial studies in theory, how might they do so in practice? I address this question in my article by examining contemporary performances of Indian classical and Contemporary South Asian dance in Britain. An historical analysis of the trajectory of Indian classical dance reveals an intimate relationship between colonial, Orientalist and Indian nationalist discourses. Investigating contemporary performances in the U.K. can thus provide a fascinating glimpse into how discourses of coloniality are reiterated in the present. Focusing on performative narrativisations of the dance's history and its constructions of an idealised femininity, I show how ethnographic research can usefully excavate contemporary practices to better understand the capacity of coloniality both to endure and transform in its contemporary articulations.

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Performing humanitarian militarism

Public security and the military in Brazil

Stephanie Savell

) blue helmets, suggesting their presence was akin to Brazil’s UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti. In this case, humanitarian militarism is a public security operation performed to display both state force and, alternately, state solidarity, with favela

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Dafna Lemish and Shiri Reznik

This study explores gender differences in the roles of humor in the lives of Israeli children. Thirty-four Jewish middle-class Israeli children, sixteen girls and eighteen boys, aged between eight to ten years, were interviewed in focus groups in which they discussed a variety of humorous video segments, jokes, and everyday humor. The analysis suggests that humor in interaction is a highly gendered process in this age group and is employed differently by boys and girls to perform their gendered identities. Girls engaged much less in sexist and aggressive humor and clearly used it to maintain their separateness from boys and younger children. We conclude that humor provides us with another avenue through which to unveil the complicated processes of gender construction in pre-adolescent childhood, while demonstrating at the same time the ambivalence and complexity involved in these processes.

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Performing Masculinity

Adolescent African American Boys' Response to Gender Scripting

Lionel C. Howard

This article focuses on the ways in which a select group of adolescent African American males respond to gender scripts. Drawing on interview and focus group data, the article describes four different responses to messages they receive from peers and significant adults about socio-culturally appropriate behaviors and characteristics of masculinity: 1) adapting or modifying their presentations of self, 2) internalizing ascribed gender scripts, 3) resisting, and 4) remaining conflicted about an appropriate response. Narratives highlight the complexity of gender identity development and active participation of African American boys in the construction of a masculine identity that feels most authentic, as well as the role of agents of socialization on identity.