Dragging up the past: subversive performance of gender and sexual identities in traditional and contemporary Irish culture
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Woods, Jeannine. (2018). Dragging up the Past: Performance of Subversive Gender and Sexual Identities in Traditional and Contemporary Irish Culture. In Pilar Villar Argaíz (Ed.), Irishness on the Margins: Minority and Dissident Identities. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
This chapter places contemporary drag performance in Ireland within a historical context of dissident, subversive elements of Irish popular culture. The practice of drag, as a performative and political strategy with the potential to disrupt and destabilise fixed gender dichotomies and heteronormative hierarchies of identity, is an international phenomenon associated with the LGBT movement. Drag performance among the LGBT movement in Ireland as explored here serves as a performative practice that queers dominant and intersecting discourses on gender, sexuality and national identity; it also reinflects Bakhtin’s conception of the carnivalesque in a critical engagement with the field of the political. As a practice that draws both on the queer and the carnivalesque, critical drag performance in Ireland both engages with local, national and international cultural politics and also resonates with aspects of traditional Irish popular culture, notably in the context of traditional wake games.