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Title: The performative construction of identity in the Shang and Zhou dynasties
Author: Coomber, Neil
ISNI:       0000 0001 3931 9797
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Judith Butler’s theory of performativity can be productively used to analyse how identity at burial would have been created, sustained and rendered coherent through extended periods of time. Moreover, Heideggerean phenomenology offers us insights into the mechanism underlying the process of performing an identity. Using mortuary data from Shang and Zhou burials, I offer (a) an analysis of how the identity of the deceased might have been (re)constructed and (re)produced through structured burial deposits as well as (b) a Heideggerean account of the heritage inherent in the sets of bronze objects interred in graves. These sets of bronze objects would have been used in a performance within the mortuary sphere as part of an elaborate but recognisable process of producing an identity for a tomb occupant. Furthermore, a gendered identity would have also been reified and materialised through burial assemblages. These post-processual analyses might be taken as examples that can be generalised to a method for further investigating other identities, and the processes underlying their production and reproduction, that Chinese archaeologists theorising burials and identity may use to advance the field.
Supervisor: Rawson, Jesscia Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Archeology ; burials ; Bronze Age China ; performance ; identity ; gender ; Grave Goods