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Type: Creative work
Title: (Re)Cognising the Body: Performativity, Embodiment and Abject Selves in Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Author: Cover, R.
Publisher: Institute of Communications Research-University of Illinois
Publisher Place: United States
Issue Date: 2005
Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between subjectivity, identity coherence and embodiment in the context of space by analysing character development and characterisation in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Character transformation in Buffy goes beyond the traditional question of the abjectively transformed vampire body, and instead focuses on the major characters in terms of their embodied subjecthood and the question of subjectivity as a response to the cultural imperative of coherence, intelligibility and recognisability. As characters, Buffy and her friends come into physical contact with demons, vampires, monsters and creatures that are culturally-coded abject not by virtue of a good/evil or subject/abject dichotomy, but through their establishment in the narrative as that which puts into question the fantasy of coherent bodies and coherent subjectivity. I consider here how Butler s theories of subjective performativity and bodily materialisation can be figured within a cultural crisis of the subject by showing that performativity, as a citation of the signifier or category or norm as co-ordinate of selfhood, is conditioned not only by the cultural imperative to articulate a coherent, normalised and regimented body but in distinction from the cultural construction of the abject, or that which threatens coherent subjectivity.
Description: Type of work : NonReferee Journal Article
Published version:,168
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 6
Media Studies publications

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