The singular power of our repeated performances of race

Update Item Information
Publication Type dissertation
School or College College of Education
Department Education, Culture & Society
Author Estrada Ramsay, Maria Cecilia
Title The singular power of our repeated performances of race
Date 2013-12
Description This dissertation examines race as cultural identity and specifically what is produced and legitimated when race is expressed on the surface of the body through our daily discourses and repeated performances of those discourses. The framework defines identity as daily and repeated communicative, linguistic and corporeal enactments. It also asks whether there is power in these expressions and whether a self-reflexive approach to these expressions of race as culture could be subversive or transformative. The framework of this dissertation is built on a rejection of the categories of identity as arbitrary and as part of a discourse used to divide, rank and degrade people. The framework is propped up with constructs adapted from the work of Butler, Bakhtin and Foucault's interpretations of power and specifically the idea that labels are the work of power used to police exclude and prohibit. From Foucault I adopted the notion that power does not emanate from a single sovereign source, and is instead disseminated through various actors across multiple relationship networks. From Bakhtin I adopted the metaphor of centripetal or unifying discourses vs. centrifugal or diversifying discourses, which provided clarifying imagery regarding the ways in which power moves inside language, more often than not fixing meanings to objects in limiting and tyrannical ways. Finally, from Butler I adopted the idea of performativity, which defines identities as daily repeated communicative, linguistic and corporeal enactments and explains how discourse is manifested through our bodies such that we might accomplish things with words when we perform with and through powerful discourses. The dissertation concludes that bodies (race) and categories (culture) are not fixed entities but rather engaged in a dialogic process with what has been and could be. Our enactment and engagement of categories give durability and credibility to those discourses and performances in large part through the naturalization created by daily repetition. Furthermore, we can self-reflect on our bodies and performances, the discourses that we have helped sustain, and the possibilities that open up once we understand that there is power in our repeated performances and possibilities in the spaces that open once we halt the repetition.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Bakhtin; Performance; Performativity; Race
Dissertation Institution University of Utah
Dissertation Name Doctor of Philosophy
Language eng
Rights Management Copyright © Maria Cecilia Estrada Ramsay 2013
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 1,010,417 bytes
Identifier etd3/id/2615
ARK ark:/87278/s6wx0rv6
Setname ir_etd
ID 196190
Reference URL
Back to Search Results