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Title: Virginity as performance : a practice-based inquiry on (female) embodiment and memory in contemporary Turkey and beyond
Author: Ercin, N. E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8510 7367
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2020
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Virginity as Performance: A practice-based inquiry on (female) embodiment and memory in contemporary Turkey and beyond questions the ways in which the notion of virginity is embedded in culture and embodied by women in everyday life in contemporary Turkey in relation to the contemporary West, specifically the US and the UK. The project comprises three performance practices which draw on the principles and methods of physical theatre, psychophysical performer training, non-stylised movement, and auto-ethnography. These practices explore virginity as a corporeal statement which penetrates the uninflected areas of everyday actions of a female child or adult, and which thus affects, alters and reconstructs a woman’s relationship (visceral, soma-phenomenological and conceptual) with her (female) body. While existing research focuses on a specific moment of sexual experience or broader social problems related to the practices of virginity, such as virginity tests or honour killings, this thesis relocates virginity in everyday life as sensed, experienced and reproduced within a wide network of intercorporeal relationships. The thesis finds that virginity is a system of classification which draws boundaries of bodies and genders. It is performed outside of the realm of sex and sexuality within four interrelated daily domains of purity: (1) order and hygeine, (2) rectitude and propriety, (3) vitality and reproductivity, and (4) authenticity and particularity. Though virginity (along with other operations of control) seeks to contain the female body, the thesis reveals the versatility of the female body and its everyday performance of purity and virginity as a social skill, a cultivated way of survival.
Supervisor: Lushetich, N. ; Daboo, J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: virginity ; performance ; embodiment ; memory ; auto-ethnography ; Turkey ; the female body ; purity