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Used in psychoanalysis to designate a psychological phenomenon of adopting an expected social role or persona and maintaining appearances. It was first used by British psychoanalyst Joan Rivière in a paper entitled ‘Womanliness as Masquerade’ (1929). Although the term is frequently used by feminist cultural critics like Germaine Greer, it has not really been developed into a fully fledged concept. It can, in this sense, be seen as a precursor to the much more sophisticated concept of performativity developed by Judith Butler.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies.

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