Time, Non-representational Theory and the "Performative Turn"—Towards a New Methodology in Qualitative Social Research

Peter Dirksmeier, Ilse Helbrecht


Because of their constitution, the usage of performative techniques in qualitative social research must deal with a paradox. Acting as performance takes place in the present and it takes place just once. One result of this is that every representation of a performance be it as text, discussion or film refers to the past. Performative social research solves this paradox by conceptualising performance as a kind of liminal phase of a ritual. Our thesis is that by simple outsourcing the problem of present in the theory of ritual, performative techniques commit the logical mistake of genetic fallacy, i.e., the mistake of forgetting that the primary value or meaning of an event has no necessary connections with its genesis in history. Therefore, a new methodology for qualitative social research after the performative turn requires a theoretical position which does not fall back to a position of causality as the temporal consequence of a cause and effect, as maintained by ritual theory. In this essay we suggest a "non-representational theory" for this venture, and point out how a methodology for qualitative research could be constituted "after" the performative turn.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0802558


performance theory; non-representational theory; time; ritual; methodology

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-9.2.385

Copyright (c) 2008 Peter Dirksmeier, Ilse Helbrecht

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.