Debbie tucker green and (the Dialectics of) Dispossession: Reframing the Ethical Encounter

Bolton, Jacqueline and Adiseshiah, Sian (2020) Debbie tucker green and (the Dialectics of) Dispossession: Reframing the Ethical Encounter. In: Debbie tucker green: Critical Perspectived. Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN 978-3-030-34581-5, 978-3-030-34580-8

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This paper uses Judith Butler and Athena Athanasiou’s rich interchange, Dispossession: The Performative in the Political (2013), to rethink the ethical encounter in two plays by black British playwright debbie tucker green: dirty butterfly (2003) and hang (2015). Dispossession is understood by Butler and Athanasiou in two senses: in one sense as the material and lived experiences of marginalized subjects (dispossession of property, home, labour, citizenship, biopolitical power, normative value), and in another, quite different, sense as the performative refutation of concepts of personhood which reify the autonomous sovereign subject and its propriety. Reading tucker green’s plays – with their antagonistic, truculent and confrontational female protagonists – through these two senses of dispossession helps us to make sense of their difficult, politico-affective subject matter. Diverging from a scholarly consensus that interprets tucker green’s drama as providing edifying ethical experiences, we instead suggest that tucker green’s plays not only withhold a straightforward ethical encounter but make such withholding a key way through which the political power of the play is expressed. There is a dialectical dynamic, we suggest, between the discursive mediation of violent dispossession and victim-protagonists whose self-possession is (always) in question, a dynamic that invites audiences to think/feel the violence of this negation. This withholding of resolution creates, we argue, an aggressive, but energizing demand for a different form of social and political relationality.

Keywords:debbie tucker green, dispossession
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W440 Theatre studies
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
ID Code:37359
Deposited On:02 Oct 2019 09:03

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