Performative Potentials of the Female Embodiment for Real-life Experience in the Context of Critical Folkloristics ELEŞTİREL FOLKLORİSTİK BAĞLAMINDA KADIN BEDENİNİN GERÇEK YAŞAM DENEYİMİNE YÖNELİK PERFORMATİF İMKÂNLARI*


Milli Folklor, vol.137, pp.48-60, 2023 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 137
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.58242/millifolklor.1232207
  • Journal Name: Milli Folklor
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.48-60
  • Keywords: bodily fluids, Critical folkloristics, feminism, Irigaray, performative fluidity
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


From the perspective of critical folkloristics, considering male body morphology as the source of becoming a subject, knowledge and power; in other words, the prerequisite of the social and cultural order that constructs life according to the assumptions of a phallocentric understanding of existence and representation system is the negation of nature, woman, body and holistic experience, reducing them to object status and producing a masculine transcendent subject who has the right to dispose of these objects. In this cultural construction, while material and fluid nature of male corporeality is veiled and solidified in a transcendent and rational human discourse, all other bodies and subjectivities that do not comply with the requirements of being a subject regarding common sense acceptance are objectified as the subject's justification for intervention. The production of embodied gender as a repetitive performance aims to create an identity between the cultural discourse and the experience of embodiment. However, the experiential effects of the discourse are contingent rather than definite. Experience is, in any case, a personal internalization process, and in this respect, every performance carries within itself a "destructive potential" (performative) on which the incongruity that emerges between the performance discourse and its experience is based. Based upon this approach, in this study, which focuses on the power of this “performative destructiveness” that emerges at the moment of encounter of masculine cultural discourse and female experience, all the routes of the solidifying/debodying discursive setup of masculine discourse on fluid embodied existence are followed through “body fluids” that defy limitation and control. In this follow-up process, the mechanism of masculine discourse's production of solid, discrete, controlled and "disembodied male subjects" and "female-object-bodies" that are completely fluid, leaky and uncontrolled, and therefore in need of the control of the masculine subject, are examined. The aforementioned discursive structuring, at the center of critical folkloristics reveals a mentality that can be clearly revealed within the framework of Feminist post-structuralist, deconstructive and observable, perceptible by senses/phenomenological approaches, especially the theoretical approach of Feminist philosopher Luce Irigaray based on the concepts of "Solid and Fluid Mechanics". Thus, the aim of this study, is to open a discussion about the “fluid embodied existence identified with woman” can be transformed into a theoretical and a practical performative possibility and thus a starting point for a fluid and living life experience and science practice (critical-feminist folkloristics) which encompasses the relational existence of women, men and nature. Another aim of the study is to contribute to making folkloristics a self-reflective, critical, embodied and solution-producing research and analysis practice so that it can become a discipline that is closer to human life and strengthen its disciplinary existence in the understanding of postmodern science. In this context, the study focuses on the critical folkloristic perspective; the experience of embodiment in cultural processes; in other words, it adopts an approach towards the understanding of the "real person". Thus, this article considers the reduction of female to a passive, controlled object in the world order based on traditional common sense, which prioritizes male body morphology and masculine discourse throughout the behavior patterns of folklore, as a distinct problematic of folkloristics on a micro scale. The structure and flow of the article is the ability of the female, who is already in the struggle against the existence of male, to meet all aspects of life; on the contrary, it reveals the solidification/disembodiment of the male by itself.