chapter  5
PERFORMATIVE ACTS AND GENDER CONSTITUTION: AN ESSAY IN PHENOMENOLOGY AND FEMINIST THEORY
ByJUDITH BUTLER
Pages 11

Philosophers rarely think about acting in the theatrical sense, but they do have a discourse of ‘acts’ that maintains associative semantic meanings with theories of performance and acting. For example . . . the phenomenological theory of ‘acts’, espoused by Edmund Husserl, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and George Herbert Mead, among others, seeks to explain the mundane way in which social agents constitute social reality through language, gesture, and all manner of symbolic social sign. Though phenomenology sometimes appears to assume the existence of a choosing and constituting agent prior to language (who poses as the sole source of its constituting acts), there is also a more radical use of the doctrine of constitution that takes the social agent as an object rather than the subject of constitutive acts.