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34292213 A Critical Sense Interviews with Intellectuals Edited by Peter Osborne 2 London and New York aiae 6 Gender as Performance Judith Burler Justh Suter teaches Inthe lhtore Deparment atthe University ‘attra, Berkey, Her fost book, Subjects of Desire: Hagen FRatecions In Twonpuh-Cantury France (1987) traced the calorie of 0 and ant Hegetian curonts in French theory arose tho wrt ings of 8 wie range of thinkers. She i bast known, however, for her sacon boox Gondor Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of leery (1990), which has proved os influential as ifs contvoveria Inte analysis of sex, “gender and ‘sexvality’ ae forme of enforced tural paformance. In pericla, t has been read by many a Sanding at the Tovtront of the new ‘queer theory” ~ a tendancy within gay and lesbian etdiee which fregrounde tama-sex desire without spectving the 2x ofthe partners in the hope of escaping the theoretical constraints of gonder aerence ‘Gander Trouble els into quostion the need for a stabi “orale ident for feminist practic and explore the raccal potential of 2 ctique of catagories of iGentty. argues that gander Ideas Sequire wet stabilty and caherence they have in the context of the “hotrosesual matrix Inthe decurive chaning of gender to evusity, iis suggested, subversive potsblties aise for ming ender vouble. In her feceat book, Bodies That Mater The Dicursva Lime of ‘Sox’ (1990), Butior addressee. some. of the riseoneaptons which have accompanied both the popularity and the notoriety of Gander Trouble, Concentrating this tine 0” whet iE meant by the materiality of the body, sha locks at the forcible [RP We'd ike o begin by asking you where you pce your work within the increasingly Sveree fd i gender ses. Most people aoclte 110 Judie Butler your recone wings with what has Become Known 38 ‘quer any ‘tee emergence of gay and lesbian stds ae a dsrete dpa ‘henomenon bes podcratiaed the relationship of some of thi wok fo feminam, Do you se yovref primary as 4 femins o a8 oct theorat or do you refs the chowe? Baier Iviald say that I'm a lems thos before Tm a quer tees ‘or gay and lesion theo. My commiemente ofr ar probaly tay erinay commitments Genter Tronble wae cig of compe Feterosemsnity within fern, and war feminists that were My Intended audnnce AF the tne I wrote the tx there wn 50 px) 2d tabi stolen anderod it. Whea the book came out the Secoed Annual Confrence of Lesbian and Cay Stdin wa aking place he UUSAv and it go taken up ina way that Ucould ever have stint. Treermer siting vest to someone at Ger party, and hes th fe was working om quer theory. And [si Whats gurer theory? He Teed at me ote | was erry, becaose he evdey though that! ws 1 par of thi thing called gece theory, But all Knew as that Tea 42 Louris bad pushed amir of the journal Diferenecs cle “Queer Theory I thought it was something the had put toner, ‘raily neve occured to tne that I wes pte of goes theory have some pods hee beeavse think there's sme anton in ques theory. Abo inofar a sre people quer then) want tam ha the soa of sexulsy exe realy sepurated frm he “nays of gender, m very much opposed to them. The new Gay and {eabion Reader tht Rouledge have je published bene wth of fice shar ake tar sai Lik tha separation Bg neat Catharine MacKinao’s work setup sucha relucive casa elon beswceneexaity and gender tha she came to stand for on exten version of femiaien hat had to be conbatd But tse to seta tovcombat through 3 queer theory tat dso te fom eon Shogetberi'a mative take BP Could you sy omahing more about the sex-pnder dino? Do {you ret to Jo you jt eet a parla erretatin of Your boston on thi ems to hive hie reve Later One ofthe inerpreains thar has fren made of Gonder Trowbe thar there i no we thre oly grade ad ponder prt ‘eopt then go onto hin tat i gender ertormative ir mat fe ‘adil edad i has coed to many thee the mater of the ody is tcated or fore or negated bre ~daavoned. even There 42 Sympromatc reading ofthis a somatophobi, Irs neering fo hve Snes ta puthologze| So what became important to ewes ‘Bodies tat Maver was 10 go ack wo the category of tem and foe problem of materaliy, and to ak bow ii hassel igh fe fonatued asa nor. Now, take thats petapposion of Laci Gender as Peformanse 117 se nora, Be T din’ want 10 eit Tt eo 2 i pe, Uma mk 2 ‘Seep wei 2 8 SORE ay we ne So | have se or conoued oo gukly in Gender he a pat Mater, and 9 20 canal chat 5% i ashe TiMiak tot T overrode Fe ee reese we ted o jnational theatre, @ SP2°& ner 258 Kr fee doped ad eine TY tees 8 Ne ore ores fly aor i onder une Bema cating ee ‘Seam Hone cm vata SOU gr oo 0 wat ee OH re in Gener Tro en od 0p sane Pett ro nba ete 70 BSE ie gener cae ey ied the ea of ‘ee ees watt hal Me ox dea fester seg abost The problem wih 5/70 asthe prada for pevernss ne br hs een eke Sate iron Ponce exam : Me ere Ye a kind of rade ‘Gre ug ale a . ‘ ath en 1 aay th dese fr Ae ta venahang af he ban 8 obvi “eae ms ate Te ta me 8 a te ee eta haf we wee so ef gente. 1 do's ink a pa es seni Ter a ne wosl bcs 0 gue ward te end oF the De isis om meni pexonnanny— whic ing sfeanon. ste ie nn le Sparel | woud now eaphe "in ks ett, and fos ame wee asi 2 ei ee pps, bce | ft ee Grune = een thangh it we ie ih pop cnt ee wt a0 te hat ePee peing&teible msceeeseraton Bagh to be rapped io ended oP wnt ame alo esha ih ee, by king 08 Fe n= by desig gener Psormanc, Ws 1 offered it as an gxamrle of peso ‘Sy pans pope 12 Judith Baler she oncoga starus of pefomativy, or exam? And haw st inv te Foocaldin acoure abd Teper norms which ot plo? fe perfonmatvy the pac eegary of which rear norms IIE bora spe tances, or what! Are 900 ofeing i 4 kd [ute Fit important dings performance for pefem Thy forme presumes tsb, butte late comet wey fun ofthe eb The las whe Tey to lary shi tad the esis of iy say Cael Queer tn Bods that Mater ein na te Foucaldan prem that per work pat thos {toune and wor prt to produce and debe sb: they when nr tar to think eafllysbows how core might Be ‘Sid prodce a suber ie car har one's aad talking so 8 eran dare or trope of production eis at thi pose at wt {Seam toe rao a pve, and pero sp partion = undersod as those speck at tha bing > bm Aiot whch tey mame. This the momestn wich cote nem produce ins fay pei way So what Tim tying toe ak “koutpeslomaciy tha pct of dscsure tht has the cpay io produce hat nomen, Taen ke fer sep, ough Dorie reing of Asti, and spat hat ths prodacon acu Stvays happens thtough a ceankindof repettion and reckon, 50 iC Sou want the onoony of sh ges prormatviy i he vee Uvouph which ontloged fey ae eblabed, Pevormatiny te curve mage by which onli eller are tall. Sometng lke eh The Body in Question RP And what shout the body? You ste bodes as forcibly profuced| Through, pacislar acounce, Some might my tae you Been? guste) addresed the Bnlogial contains on bodies ese Take the fle bods capac or imprgaation, for example, Why ie thor male bodies don't pt produced sv chi esi! There are rain asain coming fom tne body bel which you do see ore. Shouldn't yu be falking aur the consis ow dcoure a we 3 he decane leita of see"? attr Yes, bor deen everbody che tk about that? There’ 9 mach ‘owt thereon hat ARP But ih you doo' ay anthing about i people wil ink you dont cope a is Baer Yes, ete wil be vat exasperated eesponse, but there is 2 good Tactilreacon to reproduce Take your example of impcegnanon. Stoehody gh wa say an the cue that certo bodies gow he Gender a Performance 113 rt gal ob ihe teal question here is nascar owner ha Bot che eal usin BSE rae dey a in ope eee cameron ot Eh by oP ‘tnd or mete al a sled ethan oho nas ee ig mgpen Wa eo oy. a ec cove ela wen pn ‘oo ception of biological constrains. seas een den of SS aa ec Bt |e sk under cin biological diflercoces ~ and they = OO) 7 conitions, do cera esate of bodies in the world ~ becoose saben characte © politcal category offered by Monkane Tie ie on co a Ee olf 15, ur impoverishment, oF inadequack Sct a tc er an eh iat in child-rearing, but doesn't want 10 we an aN ci ge ae Hole See tedy Te ually asking whether or not the social insta oc your ety 114 Jadth Ber The Heerouenaal Comedy the pss tagNsa eon You vane ht ong Bo heeoseraly s the brome esr eee an sar aa Baie et self 4 copy of something it can never filly be? ‘