- Conversation Analysis, Language, and Sexuality
- Corpus Linguistics and Sexuality
- Critical Discourse Studies of Language and Sexuality
- Talk About Intimate Subjects: Ethnographic Approaches to Language, Gender, and Sexuality
- Linguistic Landscapes of Language and Sexuality
- Mediated Discourse Analysis in Language and Sexuality Research
- Semantics and Pragmatics: Blurring Boundaries and Constructing Contexts
- The Semiotics of Love
- Aging and Chronic Illness in Language and Sexuality
- Sexuality and Bilingualism
- Categorization and Indexicality in Language and Sexuality Research
- Mediatizing Sex: Sexting and/as Digital Discourse
- Language, Disability, and Breast Cancer
- Language and Embodied Sexuality
- Indexicality of Grammar: The Case of Japanese Transgender Speakers
- A Critical Encyclopedia of Heterosex
- Preadolescence: Social Status and the Heterosexual Market
- Discourses of Disease: The Lifeworld, the Healthworld, and HIV/AIDS
- Semiotics of Homonationalism
- Language and Intimate Relations
- Lesbian Identity Construction
- Queering School Literacy Practices: Interventionist Approaches
- Language and Sexual Normativity
- Queer Performativity
- Who Speaks for Porn?
- Religious Speech and Silence about Sexuality
- Reproduction and Language
- Doing Tricks: Affordances and Challenges for a Sociolinguistics of Sex Work
- Language and Sexual Politics: Discursive Negotiations of Belonging
- Language and Sexual Violence in the Legal System: “He Said/She Said” Accounts and Beyond
- The “Gay Voice” and “Brospeak”: Toward a Systematic Model of Stance
- Sexual Stigma: Markedness, Taboo, Containment, and Emergence
- Sexuality and Translation: Rewriting Identities and Desires
Abstract and Keywords
The aim of this chapter is to present and re-read Judith Butler’s well-known performativity theory. The main argument advanced here is that, even though Butler’s work is widely viewed as instigating the field of queer studies, it is perhaps time to revisit performativity in order to queer it. The act of queering should be understood in the context of this chapter in two ways. First, it entails going against the sociolinguistic grain and troubling the linguistic core of performativity in a way that engages with “aspects of experience and reality that do not present themselves in propositional or even in verbal form” (Sedgwick 2003: 6), such as affect, embodiment, and the materiality of the built environment. The embodied and affective aspects of performativity are illustrated with the help of examples from gender and sexual activism in Israel, which show how multi-semiotic and sensory meanings are performatively brought into being in order to stake political claims. Second, queering performativity entails questioning the antinormative mantra encoded in the very notion of queer. This requires going back to a performative utterance par excellence—“I do” in wedding ceremonies—in order open up an uneasy self-reflection about (anti)normativity in queer scholarship.
Tommaso M. Milani is Associate Professor of Linguistics at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. His main areas of research encompass language politics and language ideologies, performativity theory, multimodal critical discourse analysis, and language, gender and sexuality. He is Co-Editor of the journals African Studies (Taylor and Francis) and Gender and Language (Equinox); he is also Editor of the book series Advances in Sociolinguistics (Bloomsbury). His work has appeared in many international journals, including Gender & Language, Discourse & Society, International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Journal of Language and Politics, Journal of Language and Sexuality, Journal of Sociolinguistics, Language in Society, and Linguistics and Education. He has edited Language Ideologies and Media Discourse (together with Sally Johnson) (Continuum), and Language and Masculinities: Performances, Intersections, Dislocations (Routledge).
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