chapter  12
Teachers and Teaching: Subjectivity, Performativity and the Body
ByM. J. VICK AND CARISSA MARTINEZ
Pages 17

The paper ‘Teachers and Teaching: Subjectivity, performativity and the body’ argues what has become almost commonplace: to recognise that teaching is an embodied practice. As Vick and Martinez argue, most analyses of teaching as embodied practice focus on the embodied nature of the teacher as subject. Here, they use Butler’s concept of performativity to analyse the reiterated acts that are intelligible as they performatively constitute teaching, rather than of the teacher as subject. The authors argue that this simultaneously helps explain the persistence of teaching as a narrow repertoire of actions recognisable as ‘teaching’, and the policing of conformity to teaching thus embodied. However, as this paper claims, in performatively accomplished subjectivity, this repertoire is unstable and ambiguous and thus open to change and disruption. Moreover, teacher subjectivities may lead them to mobilise these possibilities of disruption. As the authors claim, the coupling of transformative strategies and embodied practices that are congruent with their transformative intent requires detailed, meticulous analysis of the endless array of specifi c local sites and conditions, and the discursive work of connecting new practices to established values. It requires disciplined work on and of the body to learn new actions and gestures, and the connecting of teachers and others to the broader political work of contesting the impact on teachers and teaching of limiting normative regimes in social life more broadly.