“Construction with Varied Materials: Adventures in Global Performativity and Interconnection”

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter investigates how simple everyday acts of performance and decision-making that take place on a continuous basis—such as turning left or right, deciding to stop off for a coffee, walking down one street rather than another—can have radical consequences for a person’s future life and existence. By considering how people’s everyday performative actions do not exist in isolation but are necessarily intertwined and contiguous with small- and large-scale events that are simultaneously taking place across the world, the chapter aims to untangle how small performative actions can have life-changing existential consequences for life and death. Beginning with the destruction of the Twin Towers, it offers an ethnographically grounded, rather than speculative, approach to understanding the temporal and spatial interconnection of life and death. In doing so it explores the radical contingency and unpredictability of the future, not as a theoretical abstraction, but as a series of Chance Operations through which selves, stories, and histories are continuously being rewritten and reperformed under ongoing circumstances of chance and uncertainty.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to the Anthropology of Performance
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781000907902
ISBN (Print)9781032381855
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023


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