Open Access Book

Under Construction

Performing Critical Identity

Edited by
January 2021
228 pages
  • ISBN978-3-03897-499-4 (Hardback)
  • ISBN978-3-03897-500-7 (PDF)

This book is part of the book series State of the Arts–Reflecting Contemporary Cultural Expression

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Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities

While, currently, identitarian ideologies and essentialist notions of identity that tend to simplify and reduce life experience to simple factors are globally regaining massive attention, it is becoming inevitable to recollect the thorough discussions of identity concepts in the past three decades. This also calls for an ever-keener awareness of and capacity to deal with the complexity and diversity of the world we live in. Artists play a major role in the potential reflection and transformation of perceptions and conceptions of the world—musicians, dancers, choreographers, spoken word artists, performance artists, actors, and also fine art, installation, media artists, and photographers. “Performing critical identity” points to performative practices of artists that bring to the fore a critical (self-) awareness and (self-) positioning concerning identification and belonging. Social identities such as gender, sexuality, race, class, dis/ability, age, or non/religiosity are closely linked to the historical, social, regional, and political dimensions of their formation. From this perspective, identities are hardly one-dimensional, but complex and intersectional, and are to be thought of as a process of identification and belonging rather than as a consistent essence. As different, maybe contradictory among themselves, as they are, the performative works of artists such as Lerato Shadi, Liad Hussein Kantorowicz, Nora Chipaumire, Shu Lea Cheang, Zanele Muholi, Ohno Kazuo, Anohni Hegarty, Neo Hülcker, “We’re Muslim. Don’t Panic”, or of theatre collectives such as RambaZamba and Thikwa Theater in Berlin or Theater Hora in Zurich, to name but a very small, quite random selection of artists, share a critical approach towards hegemonic norms or stereotyping of identities and their representations and empower diversity.


This edition puts a specific focus on the performativity of the aesthetic practices and wants to explore different artistic approaches, strategies, tactics, and perspectives of artists when they address identity issues, when they target power relations and structures of oppression and inequality, and when they empower concepts of diversity.

  • Hardback
License and Copyright
© 2022 by the authors; CC BY license
performative practices; critical identity; diversity; intersectionality; performativity of aesthetics
Review mode

Each chapter in this edited book has been reviewed by the editor/s, and a minimum of one external single-blind reviewer. The opinions expressed in the chapters do not reflect the view of the publisher.



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