Diana Taylor is University Professor of Performance Studies and Spanish at New York University. She is the author and editor of several books, including The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas and Disappearing Acts: Spectacles of Gender and Nationalism in Argentina's "Dirty War," both also published by Duke University Press.
Performative and Performativity
This chapter considers how language becomes action, considering Judith Butler’s theory of performativity as a practice alongside J. L. Austin’s concept of performatives. Conventions are crucial to both of these, and as with performance, performatives are all about the frame. More than simply a description of an act, performative language becomes the “act itself,” as in Jesusa Rodríguez and Liliana Felipe’s weddings and Peggy Shaw’s Split Britches performance. Through a consideration of Occupy Wall Street, this chapter further develops these concepts into the idea of animatives, inappropriate responses to a performative utterance that challenges or exceeds discursive formulation.