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  Geographers have used this term in at least three ways. First, it is used to refer to practices such as music and dance (see performance). Considerations of these practices not only expand the substantive reach of the discipline; they emerge from and extend critiques of vision and visuality and representational theory (see music, geography of; non-representational theory). Second, studies have been made of the scripted performances demanded by/in particular workplaces (Crang, 1994; McDowell, 1995). Gregson and Rose (2000) distinguish this use, which assumes that the self exists anterior to these scripted performances, from a third one, derived from Butler\'s concept of performativity. Culler (1997) traces the genealogy of this third sense of \'performative\' from Austin\'s distinction between constative and performative utterances, the latter (famously exemplified by the statement: \'I pronounce you …\' uttered at the marriage ceremony) is itself an act that performs the action to which it refers. The performative \'brings to centre stage an active, world-making use of language\' (Culler, 1997, pp. 97-8).

Butler\'s (1990, 1993a, 1993b, 1997; see queer theory) concept of performativity provides a model for thinking about not only language but also social processes more generally. First, in arguing that gender is a performance without ontological status (gender is not what one is, but what one does), she is outlining a theory of subject formation in which she attempts to mediate the extremes of essentialism and social constructivism (see gender and geography). She also attempts to hold psychoanalysis in tension with discourse analysis insofar as she argues that identities are not simply performed on the surface of the body; what is performed always operates in relation to what cannot be performed or said (notably homosexual relations), mediated by the unconscious. Second, Butler\'s discussion of performativity articulates a theory of the individual\'s relation to social norms. Performances are not freely chosen roles; Butler argues that norms of compulsory heterosexuality dictate that the subject cannot exist outside gender. Performances are also historically embedded; they are \'citational chains\' and their effect is dependent on conventions (i.e. previous utterances). But, third, norms and identities are instantiated through repetitions of an ideal (e.g. the ideal of \'woman\' or \'man\'). Since we never quite inhabit the ideal, there is room for disidentification and agency (see human agency). Geographers have been drawn to Butler\'s concept of performativity as a model for thinking about sexual (Bell, Binnie, Cream and Valentine, 1994) and gender (Lewis and Pile, 1996) identities. Gregson and Rose (2000) argue that geographers have tended to misapply Butler\'s theory of performativity, sometimes conceiving performances as voluntaristic roles chosen by already formed subjects. As yet, the spatiality of Butler\'s theorizing of performativity also lies relatively unexplored. Certainly Butler points to the importance of geographical context when she insists that \'subversiveness is the kind of effect that resists calculation\' but it is a complicated, entwined relation insofar as \'the demarcation of context is … already a prefiguring of the result\' (1993b, p. 29); Gregson and Rose (2000) begin to explore these \'performative spatialities\'. (GP)

References Bell, D., Binnie, J., Cream, J., Valentine, G. 1994: All hyped up and no place to go. Gender Place and Culture 1: 31-48. Butler, J. 1990: Gender trouble: feminism and the subversion of identity. London and New York: Routledge. Butler, J. 1993a: Bodies that matter: on the discursive limits of \'sex\'. London and New York: Routledge. Butler, J. 1993b: Critically queer. GLQ 1: 17-32. Butler, J. 1997: Excitable speech.London and New York: Routledge. Crang, P. 1994: It\'s showtime: on the workplace geographies of display in a restaurant in South east England. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 12: 675-704. Culler, J. 1997: Literary theory: a very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gregson, N. and Rose, G. 2000: Taking Butler elsewhere: performativities, spatialities and subjectivities. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. Lewis, C. and Pile, S. 1996:Woman, body, space: Rio Carnival and the politics of performance. Gender Place and Culture 3: 23-41. McDowell, L. 1995: Body work: heterosexual gender performances in city workplaces. In D. Bell and G. Valentine, eds, Mapping desire: geographies of sexualities. London: Routledge, 75-95.



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