'Commitment as a Non-Performative'

Ahmed, Sara. 2009. 'Commitment as a Non-Performative'. In: Begüm Özden Firat; Sarah De Mul and Sonja Van Wichelen, eds. Commitment and Complicity in Cultural Theory and Practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Schol, pp. 23-44. ISBN 978-0230221956 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

While 'freedom', 'equality' and 'humanity' are often considered central concepts to committed scholarship, these same concepts are also being deployed globally in legitimizing contemporary wars. Now, more than ever, there is an urgent need to reformulate the notion of commitment as inherently intertwined with various forms of complicity. The essays collected in this volume look at ways in which commitment can be 'saved' as a critical practice and also uncover instances in which commitment fails to operate properly, becoming an ethical rhetoric that serves the reconfirmation of the status quo. How can we distinguish different forms and norms of commitment? What to do when commitment becomes a desirable fetish or a good in itself, when commitment becomes, so to speak, 'commitment kitsch'? Including contributions from acclaimed young scholars and internationally recognized theorists such as Sara Ahmed, Mieke Bal, Timothy Brennan, Elleke Boehmer and Rey Chow, this volume aims to open up a new realm where such pertinent questions can be discussed.

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Book Section

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies



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Date Deposited:

06 Oct 2015 12:39

Last Modified:

22 Apr 2016 16:39



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