The Performativity of Culture: Barbie, Rachel, Jordan and the Great British Paedophile Panic: The Evasion of Unpleasant Truths and the Performance of Downright Lies

By Nicholas Arnold.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The ‘performativity’ of culture is established as a concept useful both descriptively and analytically. In Britain today a significant social drama is in play - “The Great Paedophile Panic”. The scenario of this drama is that the country is infested by an army of paedophiles, whose members are ready at any moment to swoop down on a child, kidnap, rape and murder it. There is no statistical basis for this widespread belief. An examination of potentially pathological elements in the culture, which might lie behind this social drama, reveals a society in which considerable confusion between adult and child identity, role and behaviour is increasingly exhibited. It is suggested that this psycho-social development contributes to increasing consumption in a ‘service economy’ such as that of the UK, but at the cost of significant social pathologies, including the sexualisation of children.

Keywords: Consumerism, Hysteria, Infantilisation, Paedophilia. Performance, Sexualisation, Soaps

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 12, pp.87-102. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 883.604KB).

Prof. Nicholas Arnold

Visiting Senior Professor in Cultural Studies, Institute of Cultural Studies, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland

Nicholas Arnold was educated at Oxford, where he read History and Social Anthropology. He worked as a performer, director, and deviser, in traditional and experimental performance, before re-entering academia. He has taught at Oxford, Aston, Birmingham, and De Montfort universities, and led Theatre in the team which developed the innovative degree course in Performing Arts at Leicester Polytechnic. He is currently Visiting Senior Professor in Cultural Studies at the Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland. He is also guest professor at the Universities of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ and Malta, and Tutor and UK Academic and Management Board representative for the multi-national European Masters in the Science of Performer Creativity. He is presently working in the areas of contemporary experimental performance and performance art, in the anthropology of performance, and on considerations of the ethology and ecology of performance.

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