Arts & International Affairs: Volume 3, Issue 1, Spring 2018 - Page 6

EDITORIAL: PERFORMATIVITY AND PARTICIPATION idealistic, perhaps even a marketing-oriented, view that the Edinburgh festivals bring the world together, the deliberations featured in these films attest to the follies and rewards of such Enlightenment thinking�nevertheless as critical perspectives themselves. The arts, as noted earlier, possess enormous representational capacities to make us reflect on our actions and situations. The 2017 adaptation of Ionescu’s Rhinoceros at the Edinburgh International Festival with playwright and director Zinnie Harris recalls ideas of groupthink against which Ionescu’s autobiographical character Berenger rebels (Quinney 2018). As he shouts “I’m the last man left. I’m staying that way until the end. I’m not capitulating” at the end of the play, we are reminded of the tremendous power of theatricality in our political world to entrap us. Political theorist Mihaela Mihai (2019) notes that the refusenik stands outside this groupthink. To avoid entrapment, reflective judgment is necessary: “Reflective judgment refers to the individual’s capacity to judge particulars as particulars, and not by subsumption to a principle, rule, formula, etc.” (Mihai 2016:24). Thespis was the first person in Western culture to step outside a chorus to assume the mask of another character whom he enacted. Performativity and participation in this issue are only meaningful to the extent that our cultural politics makes us aware of the masks our actors wear. Somewhat like Guy Debord (1967), invoked directly in the Taxidou essay, the authors in this issue distinguish societies and actors from their spectacles. The spectacle “is the sun that never sets over the empire of modern passivity”, warned Debord. The first step toward a critical understanding of performativity is active participation and reflective judgment. References Butler, Judith. (1993) Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex. London: Routledge. 5