Orthodoxy as Performance: Interpretation, Agency-Relations, and Performative Refashioning in Concerned Women for America

Thomson, Piper, Sociology - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Reed, Isaac, AS-Sociology, University of Virginia

The linking of the ascription of distinct characteristics to particular constructed categories of people is an always ongoing contestation of the human that is inherently wrapped up in the distribution of capacity and domination that is, to some extent, the purview of human organizations. This idea is captured here in the novel concept of ‘performative refashioning’. Rather than seeing the performative redrawing of boundaries and cultural understandings as a break with past forms of interpretation of social action, the selection of the language of ‘refashioning’ is intended to highlight both the iterative continuity of the actor’s experiences as well as to emphasize the potential resources for the pursuit of projects within existing systems of interpretation and meaning. While existing research on the performative re-creation of social interpretation either underscore its diffuse and incremental nature, places power and hierarchy outside of the performative act, or understands performances as the mechanism by which the exceptional is rendered legitimate little scholarship has been done to understand the ways in which the performative preservation of existing interpretations of action can nevertheless refashion relational constellations of capacity and domination.

MA (Master of Arts)
Sociology, Performance, Gender, Agency
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