Body, Paper, Stage: Writing and Performing Autoethnography

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  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 2011-04-30
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Tami Spry provides a methodological introduction to the budding field of performative autoethnography. She intertwines three necessary elements comprising the process. First one must understand the body - navigating concepts of self, culture, language, class, race, gender, and physicality. The second task is to put that body on the page, assigning words for that body's sociocultural experiences. Finally, this merger of body and paper is lifted up to the stage, crafting a persona as a method of personal inquiry. These three stages are simultaneous and interdependent, and only in cultivating all three does performance autoethnography begin to take shape. Replete with examples and exercises, this is an important introductory work for autoethnographers and performance artists alike.

Author Biography

Tami Spry is a Professor of Performance Studies in the Communication Studies Department at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, USA. She employs autoethnographic writing and performance as a critical method of inquiry into culture and communication, teaching courses in beginning and advanced performative autoethnography, performance of literature, and collaborative writing in performance. Dr. Spry's performance work, publications, directing, and pedagogy focus on the development of cultural critique that engenders dialogue about difficult sociocultural issues; specifically, her work engages issues of race, sexual assault, grief, shamanism, and mental illness. Dr. Spry has presented performance research across the country and abroad, most recently in the UK at the University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, and University of Oxford. She also teaches abroad in Alnwick, England, and has conducted ethnographic work in Chile and Peru with Mapuche and Peruvian shaman on the performative dimensions of healing rituals. Dr. Spry's publications appear in Text and Performance Quarterly, Critical Studies Critical Methodologies, Qualitative Inquiry, International Review of Qualitative Research, Women and Language, the SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research, and various anthologies. Her latest performance, Call It Swing, embodies jazz as a critical method of inquiry.

Table of Contents

Foreword: Performing Authoethnography: Making the Personal Politicalp. 11
Preface: Autoethnography Lost and Foundp. 15
Acknowledgmentsp. 17
Introduction: The Textualizing Bodyp. 19
Bodyp. 41
Conceptualizing Performative Autoethnography
Why Do Performative Autoethnography?p. 41
Self-Other-Contextp. 51
Connectionp. 52
Performative Autoethnography and the Performative-I Dispositionp. 53
Agency and Representationp. 57
Embodimentp. 62
Rupture and Fragmentationp. 65
In-and-Between Bodiesp. 66
The Performance Studies Classroom and Beyondp. 70
Questions for Further Considerationp. 75
Paperp. 77
Writing the Body
Putting the Body On Paper, or, Writing the Performative Bodyp. 100
Our Relationship with Languagep. 101
Autoethnography Descriptivesp. 103
An Ethic of Aesthetics in Performative Autoethnographyp. 105
Language of the Bodyp. 107
Aesthetic Accountabilityp. 109
The Answerable Bodyp. 110
Questions for Further Considerationp. 114
Paperp. 115
Composing Performative Autoethnography
Writing Bodies into Beingp. 115
Methodology for Composing Performative Autoethnographyp. 126
Sociocultural Contextp. 128
Critical Self-Reflectionp. 129
Self-Other Interactionp. 132
The Bodyp. 133
Ethicsp. 134
Formp. 140
Researchp. 145
Metaphorp. 148
Time and Spacep. 148
Additional Personap. 150
Structuring Performative Autoethnography: From Fragments to Collagep. 151
Warm-ups for Writing Performative Autoethnographyp. 153
Stagep. 157
Performing the Autoethnographic Body
Why Perform Autoethnography?p. 157
Conceptualizing Performancep. 160
The Weight of Performative Embodiment: Putting Flesh on the Bones of Discoursep. 162
Practiced Vulnerability as Agencyp. 167
Who and What Are We Performing in Performative Autoethnography?p. 171
Questions for Further Considerationp. 177
Stagep. 179
Embodying Performative Autoethnography
Elements of an Embodied Performancep. 182
Artistic Work Ethicp. 183
Dialogical Performancep. 185
Preparing for Rehearsalp. 188
Internal/External Dichotomyp. 189
Analyzing Internal Elementsp. 192
Connecting Internal and External Elements for Performance Choicesp. 194
Making Performance Choices of Voice, Body, Audience, and Spacep. 196
Warm-ups for Embodying Performative Autoethnographyp. 206
Body, Paper, Stage and Back Againp. 209
Referencesp. 213
Indexp. 225
About the Authorp. 231
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