Argumentation in the Identity Politics of the Trans Selfie, Recovering Greek Mythology to Analyze Contemporary Gender Arguments

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Book Section

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Recovering Argument

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New York, NY

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Identity often appears fixed even though it is a complicated, rhetorical process. A static understanding of identity can limit nuanced consideration of the many constraints on identity performance (Hall, 1984). I agree with Judith Butler (2006) that identity is best understood as a performance. Specifically, I conceptualize identity as a particular type of performance: an argument. Randall Lake (1990) argued that identity forms through debate with an "implied arguer" who "both argues for a claim and enacts a role" (p.70). The implied arguer is in conversation and negotiates with the self, so identity can be conceptualized as a "product of a struggle" (Strate, 2003, p. 17). Static representations of identity are stasis points within an internal argument. Identity can fluctuate and change, depending on a person's performance and also societal constraints. I argue that identity formation is a specific type of fluid, multifaceted argument and negotiation between the self and the presented form. I recover argument in order to interpret identity as a symbolic dialectic among competing claims.


Gender and Sexuality | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies