The Body and the Text. Performance in Cultural and Literary Studies

Lucia Esposito

Abstract

The essay explores the incidence and fertility of ‘performance’ as a means to examine and critique culture also in the field of cultural and literary studies, on whose ground it has landed, together with performativity, as a ‘travelling concept’. Continuously traversing the porous borders of performance studies, both concepts are in fact aiding an understanding of identity and culture not only as discoursively and normatively ‘constructed’ but also as ‘performed’ through embodied practices whose ‘efficacy’ (transgression, resistance, agency) against those very terms of discoursive constructedness and normativity may be tested. Post-subcultural studies, for example, focusing on contemporary youth subcultures’ creative life-style, body language and spectacular appropriation of the city spaces, analyse their tactics of resistance to the organizational ‘efficiency’ and technological ‘effectiveness’ that dominate today’s cultural scenario. The texts of literature are likewise increasingly approached as ‘events’ or performances, on whose contested terrain the embodied practices of writers and readers have become crucial while, especially in the so-called ‘performative writing’, the split speech/writing is being pushed to the background.

Keywords

Performance; Cultural and literary studies; Body; Text



DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/raei.2013.26.03

Copyright (c) 2013 Lucia Esposito

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