Resisting with authority: Historical specificity, agency and the performative self
UNSPECIFIED. (2003) Resisting with authority: Historical specificity, agency and the performative self. THEORY CULTURE & SOCIETY, 20 (1). 1-+. ISSN 0263-2764Full text not available from this repository.
How is it possible for human subjects who are socially constructed to engage in effective and authoritative acts of resistance to the social norms and institutions within which they were formed? Judith Butler, in her engagement with the work of Pierre Bourdieu, locates this possibility in the nature of 'speech acts', and in resistance to social norms emanating from the abjected margins of social life. She criticizes Bourdieu for undermining the promise of agency contained in habitus by reducing it to the social field in which it was constituted, thus re-closing 'the iron cage' of structural/institutional determination. For Butler, social norms and institutions, dependent as they are on reiterative performance, are intrinsically open to disruption. It is possible, she claims, using as her example Rosa Parks's historical act of resistance in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955, to resist with authority, yet without prior institutional authorization. This article argues that Butler's theory of iterability works to endow the capacity to authorize against the grain of institutional authority with individuals and their acts and hence neglects the social contexts that inform and de-limit this capacity. 'Resisting with authority' is possible precisely because it is not endowed by individuals or their acts, but is collective and interactional.
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences|
|Journal or Publication Title:||THEORY CULTURE & SOCIETY|
|Publisher:||SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD|
|Number of Pages:||18|
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