weddings and wedding talk

The wedding may have been a performance (ranging from ritualistic to showy), but the talk about the wedding is performative.  Thus, the identity construction takes place at the moment of interviewing, though the couple may have been extremely intentional about how people perceived the couple’s identity during the wedding.

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performance and genre

Each performance is a “unique dramatization of the possibilities of the genre” (McDowell, 1981, p. 73).

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individual vs group

“…a focus on the individual can mask the collaborative nature of gender, while a focus on the system can prevent us from thinking about individual agency.  And any split between the social system and individual actions can present us from thinking seriously about the relation between the two” (EMG, 2003: p. 80).

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performance and intention

Performance is the display of intention.  In the context of speech act theory, we often say we cannot know people’s intentions and that we operate with speech acts without ever being sure of intentions.  Perhaps this is a line dividing performativity with performance, because with performance, there is a self-reflective element at play in which intentions are announced.  Of course, we can never know if announced intentions are sincere, but that is another question.  The act of announcing intentions is performance, and the language without announcing intentions is performative—less reflective.  Of course, the line here is blurry.

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ritual as drama of persuasion

Myerhoff, 1992, p. 156—ritual as drama of persuasion (of identity).  Also see Fortes (1983).  This connects ritual to performance and performativity.

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Consumption is a big part of mainstream American weddings and not of births or deaths, for example.  This is likely because births and deaths are physical facts while marriage and the weddings that mark it are social constructs and thus require more work to make it a concrete event or social fact.

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“Performativity is not just a matter of an individual’s wanting to do something by saying something. Verbal as well as other performances come off, acquire their meaning, and do their work, because they draw on discourse histories of similar performances, reiterating elements that have worked similarly in the past”

(Eckert & McConnell-Ginet, 2003, p. 131)

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