Parody as a Performative Analytic: Beyond Performativity as Metadiscourse

Cherry, Scott
May 2008
Forum: Qualitative Social Research;May2008, Vol. 9 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
Various domains of inquiry have engaged a shift to the concept of performativity as an organising principle for how forms of life are performatively brought into being. What appears surprising is that this move towards a performatively emergent world is displayed insensitively through metadiscourse practices inherited from positivist science. Performative inquiry locates "the performative" as a domain of phenomena "out-there" in the world, preceding it but only made available by it. This mode of metadiscourse practice is a strategy to authorise the prior existence of a performative world, which then sets specific boundaries within which "the performative" can be known. This approach to inquiry does not so much exemplify a performative world in its own performance of it, as describe it, offer accounts about it and remarks on it. Here, the domain of the performative becomes another naturalised object. This article proposes that, if this performative turn wishes to take seriously and engage a performative world, then it must reconfigure its own modes and forms of practice such that they too are performative of that world. It develops some sense of how the concept of performativity has been adopted in contemporary discussion, setting out some of the conceptual features of performance. Then, it introduces parody as an alternative, reflexive form of performativity that opens inquiry into those possibilities of analysing the world by performing it.


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