Unmarked: The Politics of Performance

By Peggy Phelan

Unmarked is a arguable research of the fraught relation among political and representational visibility in modern tradition. Written from and for the Left, Unmarked rethinks the claims of visibility politics via a feminist psychoanalytic exam of particular functionality texts - together with images, portray, movie, theatre and anti-abortion demonstrations.

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Writing approximately it inevitably cancels the “tracelessness” inaugurated inside this performative promise. Performance’s independence from mass copy, technologically, economically, and linguistically, is its maximum power. yet buffeted by way of the encroaching ideologies of capital and copy, it usually devalues this energy. Writing approximately functionality usually, unwittingly, encourages this weak spot and falls in at the back of the force of the document/ary. Performance’s problem to writing is to find a manner for repeated phrases to develop into performative utterances, instead of, as Benveniste warned, constative utterances. the excellence among performative and constative utterances used to be proposed via J. L. Austin in the right way to Do issues With phrases. five Austin argued that speech had either a constative point (describing issues on this planet) and a performative point (to say whatever is to do or make whatever, e. g. “I promise,” “I bet,” “I beg”). Performative speech acts refer merely to themselves, they enact the job the speech indicates. For Derrida, performative writing gives you constancy simply to the utterance of the promise: I promise to utter this promise. 6 The performative is critical to Derrida accurately since it screens language’s independence from the referent open air of itself. hence, for Derrida the performative enacts the now of writing within the current time. 7 Tania Modleski has rehearsed Derrida’s relation to Austin and 150 Unmarked argues that “feminist severe writing is concurrently performative and utopian” (“Some Functions”: 15). that's, feminist severe writing is an enactment of trust in a greater destiny; the act of writing brings that destiny nearer. eight Modleski is going extra too and says that women’s relation to the performative mode of writing and speech is mainly severe simply because ladies should not guaranteed the luxurious of constructing linguistic grants inside of phallogocentrism, for the reason that all too usually she is what's promised. Commenting on Shoshana Felman’s account of the “scandal of the talking body,” a scandal Felman elucidates via a analyzing of Molière’s Dom Juan, Modleski argues that the scandal has varied impacts and results for girls than for males. “[T]he genuine, ancient scandal to which feminism addresses itself is definitely to not be equated with the author on the heart of discourse, however the lady who continues to be open air of it, now not with the ‘speaking body,’ yet with the ‘mute body’” (ibid. : 19). Feminist serious writing, Modleski argues, “works towards a time whilst the usually mute physique, ‘the mother,’ could be given an analogous entry to ‘the names’—language and speech—that males have loved” (ibid. : 15). If Modleski is exact in suggesting that the competition for feminists who write is among the “speaking our bodies” of fellows and the “mute our bodies” of girls, for functionality the competition is among “the physique in excitement” and, to invoke the identify of Elaine Scarry’s e-book, “the physique in ache. ” In relocating from the grammar of phrases to the grammar of the physique, one strikes from the area of metaphor to the world of metonymy.

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