Resisting Docility: Michel Foucault, Judith Butler and Performative Liturgical Theology
Davis, Timothy Dwight
This thesis seeks to interrogate theological embodiment through a liturgical lens. We seek to understand how the logic of the State — the logic of capitalism, precarity, and use — has insinuated itself into notions of liturgical embodiment. Through a close engagement with Michel Foucault’s work Discipline & Punish, as well as the work of Judith Butler, this thesis explores the ways that liturgical theology has been co-opted by the logic of the state in order to render bodies as docile, incapable of resisting realities of oppression and precarity. Rather than articulating docile bodies, this thesis attempts to lay the foundations for a liturgical theology that shapes bodies of resistance to de-forming forces of culture such as colonialism, white supremacy, and heteropatriarchy. By engaging with Judith Butler’s understanding of performativity, this thesis attempts to sketch a broad understanding of how liturgy can function in a performative mode. The goal is to develop a liturgical theological anthropology that is non-hegemonic and that does not render bodies as homogenous. Rather, performative liturgical theology seeks to allow bodies to perform themselves in creative ways, resisting compulsory systems of obedience and imagining communal utopic futures.