Foregrounding References: Materiality

One of the most compelling critiques of the interpretation of performativity in terms of “the power of words” — a critique with which The Provoked Economy should side enthusiastically from the outset — is from Karen Barad: “Performativity, properly construed, is not an invitation to turn
everything (including material bodies) into words; on the contrary, performativity is precisely a contestation of the excessive power granted to language to determine what is real” (in “Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter”, p. 802 — see also her Meeting the Universe Halfway). Signification and matter considered together, aptly escaping the separation between words and things: that is the name of Barad’s pragmatist game.

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