Performance in action

Walking as gendered construction practice in drag king workshops

Authored by: Luca Greco

The Routledge Handbook of Language, Gender, and Sexuality

Print publication date:  April  2021
Online publication date:  April  2021

Print ISBN: 9781138200265
eBook ISBN: 9781315514857
Adobe ISBN:


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Drawing from a fieldwork conducted on a French speaking drag king community in Brussels (Belgium), this chapter deals with gender as performance as illustrated by walking in drag king workshops. By focusing on gender as an embodied performance, walking is approached as a gender (de)construction device through which participants construct articulations between gender, movement, and space in three different cases under scrutiny in this paper: ‘in vitro’, ‘liminal’, and ‘in vivo’ walking. I will show how walking activities in this context are not separable from a reflexive posture participants adopt on their own bodies and on their own gendered bodily transformations. The pervasive reflexive dimension in walking practices transforms the participants of drag king workshops into real explorers of gender and space, and theoreticians of walking practices. Through the detailed analysis of walking in drag king workshops, I will demonstrate why an integrated approach between interactional, ethnographic, and artistic perspectives is necessary. Such a theoretical and methodological framework resituates the historical emergence of gender as performance in contemporary arts, it considers the domain of artistic performance as a theoretical resource for language, gender, and sexuality studies (LGSS), and it focuses on the corporeal, the processual, and the experiential dimensions of gender construction practices.

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