The author presents an account of the critical debates surrounding the idea of performativity and More Details. Statement of responsibility: James Loxley. : Performativity (The New Critical Idiom) () by James Loxley and a great selection of similar New, Used and. In this work, we set out to examine the ways in which a fresh attention to the history of the idea of ‘performativity’ can make possible a new understanding of the.

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In narratology, performativity denotes modes of presenting or evoking action. Here the audience experiences the actors and the action directly, i. Performance can take place in the real world as in a wedding ceremony or a court trial or it can depict fictional events as in a theater performance.

Verbal or visual scripts pwrformativity prepare the performance in playtexts and stage directions, film perfirmativity and choreographic sketches. These may also detail gestures, facial expressions and voice. In a wider sense, the jmaes performativity can also be applied to non-corporeal presentations, e. Here performativity refers to the imitation or illusion of a performance. In systematic terms, actions can be conveyed on two different levels of the presentational process. They can be located, first, on the level of histoire the story that is presented.

When the performativity of the act of narration is considered in a wider pragmatic and cultural context, aspects of the empirical author e. Performativity and jzmes are interdisciplinary concepts that have emerged in linguistics and the philosophy of language, in performance, theater and literary studies, as well as in ethnology, sociology and cultural studies Loxley Therefore, this article will aim above all to provide a systematic account of how the concept of performativity currently pertains to narratology.

Performativity I refers to the performance of a narrative, i. These presentations of narratives evoke a performance in the mind of the reader or spectator. In narrative, performativity can be located on two levels: The spectator of the performance perceives the unfolding of a story in a scenic transmission, bodily presented by one or more actors.

In the strictest sense, this denotes direct speech only, as in dramatic writing, dialogue quoted verbatim, etc. In the case of performativity I. Here the performance consists in the presentation of a story by a narrator or presenter, e. His or her voice, body or actions rather than those of individually embodied persons or characters form the core of the performance, which allows for different degrees of impersonation.

The performativity of the illusion of dramatic presentation in written narrative corresponds to or appears to be modeled on scenic performances. Likewise the performativity of the act of presentation or narration, especially in feigned orality or skaz narration, corresponds to or appears to be modeled on performances by an embodied storyteller. Direct presentation on the story level II. Analogously, mediation of the act of narration on the level of the narration II.

In the case of both performativity I.

Performativity by Loxley, James

This story tells of changes in the situation, attitude or behavior of the narrator. On this level, the act of narration is thematized in a self-reflexive manner. Performative in this sense is often used synonymously with self-conscious and reflexive or with metanarrative and metafictional.

The two basic levels of performativity can also be re-conceptualized in speech act terminology that describes utterances as a mode of action. In the context of narratology, the performativity of speech acts is relevant on two levels. First, speech acts performativiry precipitate action on the story-level promises, threats, wooing, etcwhether in court-rooms or dramatic dialogue Pfister [] Second, the narrator pefformativity speech acts to identify and report, generalize and promise, etc.

Pratt ; Todorov [] ; in this perspective, a novel, too, is a speech act. Since speech act theory remains language-based, it applies only to verbal narratives. Yet other media, e.

Though used primarily to denote the co-presence and live interaction between the presenter s of a narrative and the audience, the notion of performance is sometimes deployed in a looser sense. With a view to media in which the narrative is encountered as already given and complete, as in a novel, film or painting, the term performance performativitj also used to describe the process of realization or mental performance of the recipient. In this case, the term becomes synonymous with the individual loxoey or viewing process.


Nevertheless, the intensity with which they are experienced may vary. The spatial proximity between performance and audience as well as the possible manipulation of light and sound bear on this experience. ;erformativity impact of styles of acting or ritualized behavior within given conventions of presenting and viewing may also enhance or lessen the impact of performativity in a performance.

locley Disciplines that study the performativity of narratives in cultural or theatrical performances rarely draw on narratology, although they do focus on the performativity of narratives in a wider, communicational and context-sensitive framework.

Ethnographic and anthropological work Turner investigates the way in which a society performatively constructs, preserves or changes its traditions, identity and cultural memory. Theater and performance studies Auslander ed.


These studies emphasize the significance of material embodiment and re-contextualization, paying attention to the impact of foregrounded theatricality, audience interaction and the transitoriness of the performance Fischer-Lichte However, studies of oral narratives presented by a corporeal teller tend to focus on performativity I. Since Labovresearch on oral narrative and face-to-face narration in linguistic discourse analysis and sociolinguistics has been concerned with specific characteristics of the oral format.

More recent investigations have become increasingly sensitive to cultural contexts, analyzing how narrative performances constitute or index individual, social and cultural identities Georgakopoulou Moreover, some analyses of the provisional character of narratives-in-performance indicate that the act of narration, understood as a social, communicational event, acquires collaborative aspects.

From an ethnological perspective, Bauman looks at narrators in closely-knit communal settings and shows how the narrated events are shaped in the narrative event. This focus on oral narratives as performative modes of embodied social communication and interaction has sparked interdisciplinary work which Herman Performances can be scripted as well as mediatized.

Some aspects of the performativity actualized in a performance may be scripted in a play- or filmscript or in visual sketches or even in community-based guidelines for the performance of ritual acts.

In play- or filmscripts, numerous aspects of the performance are encoded through deictic references to the hic et nunc of the dramatic situation in the main text, but also through stage directions detailing spaces, bodily movements, light and sounds Elam ; De Marinis [] Drawing on the work of Elam, Fludernik has recently explored the implications of locating discourse either at the level of the playtext or at the level of the performance.

She also suggests that we revise the general narrative communication model for all written narratives so that it includes performance as an additional optional level Fludernik However, performances are not only prepared in various ways. They can also be recorded or mediatized.

Shakespeare, Jonson, and the Claims of the Performative

This again inflects the degree of their performativity in the new medium and involves modifications of meaning Auslander [] Performativity as performativity II is also manifest in non-corporeal representations of action.

In the mixed mode of the epic, the poet combines his authorial descriptions and comments with mimetic lxley, i. And when the poet completely effaces his own voice and represents the action in the imitated voices of the characters only, this is called pure performatibity, to be found in drama Plato Plato thus confines his notion of mimesis to the level of histoire as specified by Genette and singles out drama as the mimetic or performative genre par excellence.

However, Plato c—b attacks and devalues the mimetic mode for its corrupting effects on a strictly ordered society. In contrast to Plato, however, Aristotle b, 5—20 endorses the mimetic mode specified by Plato on account of its strong imitative force, which, he argues, gives pleasure and is pedagogically valuable. The major classical authorities thus describe the dramatic genre as performative because it presents the story in an unmediated or direct manner. This description has been repeated throughout critical appreciations of the genre, leading Pfister [] Performativity in the sense of direct or mimetic performativity can also become a feature of narratives that are regarded as mediated such as short stories or novels.

Henry James [] At about the same time, Lubbock [] Without using the term, Booth and Jaes both take a closer look at the concept of performativity underlying these normative assumptions.

Though opposing showing and telling, Booth points out that authorial agency is not conveyed merely in addresses to the reader or in comments and direct judgments, but also through the direct speech of reliable characters, the ordering of the narrative discourse or through any shifting of the point of view.

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He argues that within the diegetic mode, mimetic or direct speech does not represent speech at perfofmativity, but rather repeats speech or, in literary narrative, directly constitutes it: Other theorists pursue the question as to whether performativity can be graded on the story level.

Chatman later drops the concept of the non-narrated narrative, arguing that every narrative is by definition narrated or presented by either an agent or an instrument which need not be human After all, the unmediated representation of untagged direct dialogue in written narrative does not necessarily convey a greater degree of immediacy than reported dialogue with a narrator specifying, for instance, the facial expressions and gestures accompanying the utterances or the tone of the voices.

Sternberg thus abandons graded correlations of linguistic form and performative effect in favor of an account of the full range of the communication. Its transposition into written language always remains selective and implies choices; quoting always involves mediation This insight can be extended from the representation of speech to performativiy of visual detail Chatman As a consequence, performaivity is always more than one approach to creating the illusion of immediacy, and perfoemativity conventions determining what counts as a successful achievement of this illusion may vary Wolf As far as discourse level or act of narration are ;erformativity, the concept of performativity II.

The capacity at issue thus inheres in all modes of the act or process of presenting the story.

Writing about Baudelaire and Sterne respectively, MacLean and Pfister emphasize that the foregrounding of the act of narration can feign a performance in which narrator and audience are conceived as fully embodied, co-present and interactive.

The performativity that refers to the act of presenting includes forms of self-reflexivity such as metanarration and metafictionality that effectively dramatize or foreground the act of pefformativity. The notion of the absolute nature of drama, as indicated above, amounts to an idealization, since the act of presenting can be traced in dramatic writing, too.

Recent studies focus on onstage narrators in memory plays or on narrative insets including the telling of anecdotes, jokes and dreams, but they also thematize the narrator as an abstract structural agency. Conversely, forms of poetry that display great immediacy of consciousness or achieve scenic presentations in different voices do not square with the notion of poetry as pure diegesis Wolf ; Pfister Performativity is at stake also when narrative discourse as a whole is treated as a speech act, or when the attention shifts to the pragmatic relations within which the narrative itself turns into an act.

Moreover, Iser [] He points out that the Aristotelian notion of mimesis already implies a teleological thrust exceeding mere imitation, which is increasingly complemented in the course of history by a performative dimension in the process performatiivity reception.

Finally, a number performatiivity critics have explored how gender bears on the performativity performativjty the narrative act and its pragmatic relations. Lanser draws on speech act concepts of performativity to reappraise the gendered relation between author, narrator and point of view.

As this brief survey has shown, the notion of performativity cuts across a wide spectrum of fruitful research in narratology that calls for more systematic investigation. For instance, this survey suggests that the concept of performativity could serve as an ideal site for studying the interrelation between the degree of narrative performativity in visual or verbal forms of presentation and the more or less determinate visual and kinesthetic mental performance taking place in the mind of the reader or spectator.

How do different media or specific cultural environments affect this interrelation? Furthermore, the survey indicates that the concept of performativity and the two levels of narrative to which it refers provide a distinct inroad into research on written narratives. In this perspective, investigation into the textual illusion of scenic presentation and the textual illusion of orality can be pursued as accounts of complementary types of textual performativity.

At the same time, the capacity of speech acts to shape gendered as well as social or cultural identities Butler seems to merit closer analysis in written narratives, too. Yet the concept of performativity also introduces a theoretical query.