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Book: How to Do Things with Myths

Chapter: Introduction: Myths, Performatives, Performances and Performers

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.44966


What is a “performative” concept and theory of myth, and why should it be recommended? As philosophers speak of speech ‘acts,” myths often “act” -- they “do” things in culture, rather than being static narratives of events. Myths “perform” prominently these days in contemporary politics. There, myths compete with historical accounts to justify the legitimacy of political regimes, territorial claims, rights to rule and so on. Myths, then, often play major roles in political cultures that, in turn, shape policy.

Chapter Contributors

  • Ivan Strenski ([email protected] - istrenski) 'University of California Riverside (retired)'