How can I deny this body is mine: performativity, embodiment, and normative violence




Feng, Janice Mingjia

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This thesis seeks to explore, problematize and critique the violence of norms—normative violence, especially gender norms and heteronormativity-- in contemporary political life. It focuses on the interaction and engagement between norms and the body, and demonstrates that normative violence manifests itself in a twofold way: norms not only regulate, normalize and manage bodies that are already intelligible into reified forms, but also through their exclusionary logic produce unintelligible bodies that are unlivable. Situated within contemporary feminist and queer movements, this thesis bridges between aporias and problems emergent from them and critical readings of Simone de Beauvoir, Michel Foucault, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. This thesis identifies and indicates normative violence and erasures inherited in the popular rhetoric of the movements and diverse theoretical accounts of the body. Finally, the argument is made that feminist and queer readings of Foucault and Merleau-Ponty provide possibilities for undoing normative violence by resignifying norms temporally and performatively via collective action.



Phenomenology Post-Structualism Feminism Queer Body