The Non-Performativity of Anti-Racism

Ahmed, Sara. 2005. The Non-Performativity of Anti-Racism. borderlands, 5(3), [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This paper explores institutional speech acts that declare organisations as being diverse and as committed to racial equality. It offers a simple thesis: such speech acts are non-performatives; they do not bring about the effects that they name. The paper draws on an analysis of policy documents, experience of writing equality documents, and interviews with diversity practitioners based in universities in the UK. By exploring different kinds of institutional speech acts (commitments, performances, descriptions), the paper concludes non-performatives can still do things; they may even do things that fail to bring into effect what they name. In other words, practitioners use such speech acts to expose the gap between what organisations say they do and what they do.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies



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Date Deposited:

06 Oct 2015 10:17

Last Modified:

22 Apr 2016 16:39

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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