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Cultural theory has taken a 'performative turn', shifting its focus from the textual nature of the world to how the social world is narrated, its subjects are subjected and its relations are ritually enacted. The rise of performativity in cultural theory - spearheaded in many ways by feminist theory - has profound implications for the way we think about ethics and politics. Indeed, as it concerns all aspects of 'difference', it reshapes the ways we think about the continuities and interruptions of social life itself. Drawing on thinkers such as Foucault, Butler, Levinas, Arendt and Deleuze, Culture and Performanceexplores the development and direction of the notion of performativity. It interrogates the idea of subjectivity, the possibility of ethics and, beyond this, how such abstract questions relate to the world of political action. It traces the implications of the concept, and discusses the critique that is emerging from a renewed interest in creativity.