The Queerness of Art and the Foucauldian Origins of Judith Butler's Notion of Performativity

An Overview


  • Muhammed Shafi S. Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit



Foucault, Butler, disciplinarity, Performativity, Art, Aesthetic experience, Queerness


By deploying the methodology of Judith Butler's notion of Performativity, this article intends to understand the possibility of the concept of 'Queerness' beyond the possibilities of gender studies and queer theory and to develop a concept transcending the limits of identity. It is undeniable that Foucault's concept of disciplinarity is one of the major precursors of the notion of Performativity, which is a much more focused tool for what Foucault broadly devised. Both thinkers explain how a subject is a construction by power. They explain how bodies are marked, assigned, and manipulated and expose the banality with which these operations take one for granted. It is through unearthing the disciplinary aspects of Performativity in Butler and foreseeing the performative aspects of disciplinarity in Foucault that this article finds its methodological perspective. It is undeniable that disciplinarity and, as its extension, Performativity ultimately exposes the underlying ontology of identity as a 'truth effect' rather than an apriori truth. The paper critically analyses the artist's identity and the art discourse to expose the Queerness or underlying plurality of aesthetic experience using Performativity as a formative tool.


Butler, J. (1993). Bodies that Matter: On the discursive limits of "sex". In Routledge New York.

Butler, J. (1999). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. In Routledge New York.

Balasingham, H. (2018). Foucault & Butler on the Conception of the Body. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 26 July 2022].

Carlson, Åsa. (2008). Butler's Unduly Worry about Foucault. The Paradoxically Constituted and Constructed Body. SATS. 9. 10.1515/SATS.2008.74.

Dudrick, D. (2005). Foucault, Butler, and the body. European Journal of Philosophy, 13(2), 226–246.

Foucault, M. (1995). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. New York: Vintage Books.

Foucault, M. (1978). The history of sexuality: Volume I: An Introduction. New York: Pantheon Books.

Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals, trans.Walter Kaufmann (New York:Vintage, 1969), p. 45.

Marat J-P, Plan de legislation criminelle, 1780

Price, J., & Shildrick, M. (1999). Feminist theory and the body: A reader. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Sang Ong-Van-Cung, K. (2011). Critique and Subjectivation: Foucault and Butler on the Subject. Actuel Marx, 49, 148-161.




How to Cite

Muhammed Shafi S. (2024). The Queerness of Art and the Foucauldian Origins of Judith Butler’s Notion of Performativity : An Overview. Tattva Journal of Philosophy, 16(1), 21-38.