Performative Memory

Judith Butler and Remembering Turkey’s 2016 Coup


  • Jacob Maze Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University



Cultural Memory, Judith Butler, Memory Practices, Performativity, Turkey, Identity Politics


Though scholars in memory studies often deal with different aspects of cultural memory, it is rare to find any systematic framework to which memory adheres to and which would explain the emergence and maintenance of memories in general. In this article, I use the concepts of Judith Butler’s theory of performativity, namely interpellation, subject constitution, repetition, sedimentation, citationality and subversion, to show how she could provide a procedural account of memory formation. To illustrate how this might work, I look at how Turkey has chosen to commemorate the failed coup of July 2016 by interpreting some examples of such memory through Butler’s theories. In doing so, I show that Butler, rather than introducing new concepts to the field, offers a systematic framework that can relate scholars to one another by transposing their concepts onto Butler’s theory.


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How to Cite

Maze, J. (2021) “Performative Memory: Judith Butler and Remembering Turkey’s 2016 Coup”, Culture Unbound, 13(2), pp. 63–86. doi: 10.3384/cu.1381.