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performative Line breaks: per¦forma|tive
Pronunciation: /pəˈfɔːmətɪv/

Definition of performative in English:


1Relating to or of the nature of dramatic or artistic performance: films which push past the limits of current performative trends teaching is a performative act
More example sentences
  • Largely visual and performative, her work always includes her own body in a humorous and engaging way.
  • The performative nature of this piece carried through to other nearby works.
  • Performative events were also scripted into the mix.
1.1Characterized by the performance of a social or cultural role: many feminist theorists have come to stress the contextual and performative aspects of gender
More example sentences
  • These two authors drew attention to the performative nature of societies.
  • While Butler includes race as performative, other scholars have extended the discussion to include the mundane actions that cement one's racial identity.
  • Gender is seen as a “performative ritualized practice”.
1.2 Linguistics & Philosophy Relating to or denoting an utterance by means of which the speaker performs a particular act (e.g. I bet, I apologize, I promise). Often contrasted with constative.
Example sentences
  • Rather, these are performative utterances, which do not so much say something as do something.
  • He thinks performative sentences do not have truth conditions because they do not describe or report anything.
  • But if literary language is performative and if a performative utterance is not true or false but felicitous or infelicitous, what does it mean for a literary utterance to be felicitous or infelicitous?


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A performative utterance: here statements are not descriptive utterances but performatives
More example sentences
  • Performative utterances, or performatives, are not true or false and actually perform the action to which they refer.
  • Such speech acts, called performatives, cannot be said to be true or false.
  • Illocutionary acts, in addition to covering such explicit performatives as promising, also include statements.



Pronunciation: /pəfɔːməˈtɪvɪti/
Example sentences
  • It also posits that femininity and masculinity are socially constructed rather than biological givens, emphasizing the performativity of gender.
  • From this situation evolved the essential dynamic of Chicano performativity: the dialectic of calling attention to the act of turning away.
  • They have become institutions measuring performativity in a very quantitative sense that favours the style of work of certain academics over others.

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