Performativity as/of Method
Every year I organise a PhD workshop on performativity of methods. Entitled ‘Performativity as/of Method’, with a small group we survey how the concept of performativity is used as a method in social sciences (performativity as method) and how the concept affects the idea of ‘method’ in social sciences (performativity of method). This workshop has been essential for me to work out the implications of the ontological, epistemological, and methodological choices I made my investigations (so far). We always review J.L. Austin (1962) and discuss Jacques Derrida (1988), Ian Hacking (2004), and Judith Butler (1997; 2015) and survey the use of performativity as/of method. To me performativity is not merely a method but a radical approach to production of knowledge and the subject position of scholars when we are providing a ‘description’ of the world in which we live and work. Thinking with performativity disavows both objectivism (that knowledge describes an outside world) and subjectivism (that knowledge is a product of an internal world). This takes us into the matters of objectivity, subjectivity, intentionality, purposiveness, positionality, truth-telling as speech acts, and reflexivity – matters that are crucial to address for scholars in placing and replacing their work.
Three methods form the basis of my work: deconstructing, decolonising, and enacting. I never discuss method as such but only with respect to specific research questions and objects, and subjects that these questions inquire about. So I present my work here where I discuss the ontological, epistemological, and methodological choices I made in specific investigations and their consequences.
Austin, J.L. 1962. How to Do Things with Words. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Butler, Judith. 1997. Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative. London: Routledge.
———. 2015. Notes toward a Performative Theory of Assembly. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Derrida, Jacques. 1988. Limited Inc. Edited by Gerald Graff. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press.
Hacking, Ian. 2004. Historical Ontology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.