Event Date: 13 December 2013
University of London
London WC1E 7HU
Professor Craig J. Thompson (Wisconsin-Madison) – Marketplace Performativities and the Naturalization of Gender Transgression
Through an analysis of the roller derby field, we develop a new conceptualization of the interrelationships between everyday gender performativities and transgressive marketplace performances. As women acquire the embodied cultural capital needed to enact their roller derby grrrl personas, they also begin reshaping their gendered habitus and cultivating reflexive insights into the ideological limits posed by their gender socialization. We show that marketplace considerations indirectly facilitate these women’s efforts to reconfigure their everyday gender performativities in ways compatible with the empowering qualities of their derby grrrl personas. In catering to local market tastes and tolerances, roller derby’s transgressive gender practices and third-wave feminist ethos becomes naturalized within derby grrrls’ broader social networks, enabling these women to diverge from localized gender norms without undermining their social legitimacy. Our conclusion addresses implications for prior theorizations of marketplace performances, marketplace co-optation, and the structural tensions between hegemonic gender ideologies and consumers’ agentic practices of identity construction.