Travestirsi per Dioniso
“Cross-dressing” maschile e performatività nell’Atene classica
Keywords:Dionysus, Euripides' Bacchae, performativity, cross-dressing, historical anthropology of ancient Greece, ancient Greek religion, Pentheus, rites of passage
Starting from the definition of “performativity” and “gender parody” developed by Judith Butler, this paper aims to investigate the performative functions of male cross-dressing within the dynamics of social categorization in classical Athens. For this purpose I have adopted an eclectic hermeneutic toolbox, borrowing elements from Harvey Sacks’ Membership Categorization Analysis to René Girard’s scapegoat theory. Through the philological analysis of some literary representations of transvestism, such as Pentheus’ cross-dressing in Euripides’ Bacchae, and the anthropological interpretation of the mythical-ritual complex relating to the effeminacy of Dionysus, my work focuses on the polyvalence of cross-dressing as an example of “rite of passage” that works subliminally, despite the subversive appearance, functioning as an instrument of cultural hegemony.
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