"The Performance of Gender" presents a vivid description of everyday life in order to explore the concept of "performance" for an anthropology of gender. A detailed and evocative account of the lives of men and women in a South Indian fishing community reveals new ways of framing gender relations, the body and kinship. The ethnographic account is set within the context of social and cultural theory, notably the ideas of Judith Butler, Perre Bourdieu and Michel Foucault. The study sheds new light on the ways in which gender is understood as both performative, that is enacted through everyday practices, and also substantial and embodied, that is marked out in the separate sexual fluids and procreative capacities of husbands and wives.
Cecilia Busby is Lecturer in Anthropology at Goldsmiths College.