Contextualizing performative identity a synthesis of Judith Butler’s performative process ontology and Michel Foucault’s analytics of power

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Philosophy, Turkey

Approval Date: 2016

Thesis Language: English

Student: Jacob Alan Maze



Both Michel Foucault and Judith Butler give an account of a socially constructed subject, yet both philosophers face dilemmas within their own philosophies that are solvable through a reconciliation between the two. While Foucault offers the concepts of genealogy, power and dispositifs to explain the how the subject comes to think, act and speak, there is no mental account of subjectivity to unify the subject and power and explain subject-durability. On the other hand, Butler provides a process ontology of performativity that allows subject-cohesion and permits subversion to power relations, yet she lacks Foucault’s historical contextuality. By combining these two philosophers, one is able to give a reinforced account of subjectivity and how power is exercised that paves the way for an “Analytics of Violence,” or an understanding of how violence comes to exist and is exercised.