Masculinites, Performativity, and Subversion: A Sociological Reappraisal
The study of masculinities has not escaped the influence of Judith Butler’s writings on gender, performativity, and subversion. However, this article suggests that Butler’s formulations of performativity and subversion express a lack of clarity and engender a number of problems with respect to agency, action, interaction, and social change. This article argues for reformulating performativity and subversion in a more explicitly sociological frame to render the concepts more useful for examining agency and subjectivity in the study of masculinities. The writings of Erving Goffman suggest ways to reclaim the socially constructed agency of “performance” from the mire of “performativity,” with the latter’s apparent disappearance of subjective action. This article suggests reworking subversion away from parody and resignification toward a consideration of resources for subjectivity and challenges to prevailing social structures. In this way, performativity and subversion may be set more convincingly within a sociologically informed study of masculinity.
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Rights Statement: © 2005 Sage Publications
Keywords: masculinity; subversion; Judith Butler; performativity; sociology; Erving Goffman
Research Type: Journal Article
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