Articles | Volume 67, issue 4
19 Mar 2013
 | 19 Mar 2013

Visual ethnography for performative geographies: how women politicians perform identities on Ecuadorian political stages

C. Schurr

Abstract. While there has been intense discussion of the theories of performativity in human geography, little has been said about the methodological implications of the performative turn. This paper suggests visual ethnography as a suitable methodology for performative geographies, since it focuses explicitly on the embodied and non-textual performances that bring both subjectivities and spatialities into being. In order to be able to connect the observed performances with performativity, a visual ethnography of performativity needs to be developed that combines visual research methods with insights about visual culture. By drawing on a visual ethnographic case study of politicians' identity performances in Ecuador, I show in the empirical section of this paper how the filmed identity performances can be linked and contrasted to hegemonic discourses around masculinity, femininity, whiteness, and indigenousness represented in Ecuador's visual culture. This visual ethnography reveals the ambivalence of their identity performances in which the politicians are constantly torn between responding to and simultaneously resisting hegemonic discourses around the masculinity and whiteness of the political.