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‘Marriage itself as theater’: The performative politics of marriage in Ocho apellidos vascos

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Marriage and performance constitute the crux of Spanish box-office sensation Ocho apellidos vascos (Martínez Lázaro, 2014), which demonstrates the performativity of both the heteronormative marriage ceremony and of regional and national identities. This article unpacks the politics of this emphasis on marriage, performance and performativity and contends that at the juncture of this conceptual framework is a perilous project founded upon the elision of difference. The analysis focuses on the function of marriage and the wedding ceremony with regard to both the romcom genre and the theoretical paradigm of performativity before considering the extent to which, in the context of national iconography, the imminent nuptials of vasca Amaia and sevillano Rafa echo the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella in 1469 as a union of two distinct Spanish communities. If the prospective marital union of Amaia and Rafa constitutes a utopian unificatory gesture, what is at stake within this political paradigm?
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Keywords: Ocho apellidos vascos; Spain; cinema; marriage; performance; performativity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Durham University

Publication date: September 1, 2017

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  • The International Journal of Iberian Studies (IJIS) is the academic journal for scholars from around the world whose research focuses on contemporary Spain and Portugal from a range of disciplinary perspectives. IJIS is interested in history (20th century onwards), government and politics; foreign policy and international relations.
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