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ERIC Number: EJ1003329
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 11
ISSN: ISSN-1356-9783
Politics and Play: Meditations on Rhetorical Bodily Performance
Pauliny, Tara
Research in Drama Education, v18 n2 p179-191 2013
Focusing on the drag king performances of Christie Whisman, who lived and worked in Columbus, Ohio, USA, from 1999 to 2001, this essay argues that rhetorical bodily performances have the capacity not only to subvert normalised notions of identity categories, but that such performances can also create alternate pedagogical sites that persuasively and parodically connect politics to play. By exposing the interconnected nature of the material and theoretical body--the body constructed by physicality, and the body constructed through ideology--Whisman's work expands and deconstructs social categorisations that have material and psychic impact. It calls into question what constitutes masculinity and femininity, for example, and it provides an opportunity for the subject to answer back and have a hand in her own construction. By forwarding a political critique that highlights the symbiotic relationship between the body and identity, parody and persuasion, and subversion and reiteration, this essay argues that Whisman's work illustrates the political power of play. It notes that, while her performances remind us that categories of the body such as gender and even sex are certainly constructed and performed, the persuasive force of those performances is often attached to, in fact "performed by", an actual body. Her work asserts that it is this body--this flesh and blood, imagined and imagining, limited and possible--that intersects with actions and speech to create rhetorical and queer arguments; here, bodily matter brims with signification, resistance and, perhaps above all, subversive potential. In so doing, the arguments offered by rhetorical bodily performances often cross lines of race and class (given the spaces in which they are performed), subvert gender binaries, refuse to honour the artificial separation of politics and pop culture, and ultimately authorise the performing subject and her audience. (Contains 5 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio; United States