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Performance and performativity are conceptually intertwined within anthropology and performance studies. Both are key to thinking about how aestheticized modes of self-presentation have material and discursive effects. Performance and performativity have also been crucial concepts for thinking about how gender and sexuality—particularly nonnormative gender and sexuality—are rendered through different modes of self-presentation. From early writings on drag performers to debates about passing and realness to more contemporary work on aesthetic excess and style, this chapter considers how queer anthropology has engaged with stylized modes of self-presentation. It explores the thresholds between queer anthropology and performance studies as openings to consider the debates around performativity as a discursive framework—a repetition of stylized acts that might congeal over time—and performance as materially grounded in the flesh and words of everyday life.

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