Theories of Performance

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-02-11
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications, Inc

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Theories of Performance invites students to explore the possibilities of performance for creating, knowing, and staking claims to the world. Each chapter surveys, explains, and illustrates classic, modern, and postmodern theories that answer the questions, "What is performance?" "Why do people perform?" and "How does performance constitute our social and political worlds?" The chapters feature performance as the entry point for understanding texts, drama, culture, social roles, identity, resistance, and technologies. Written specifically for the undergraduate classroom, performance theories are explained in ways accessible to students, relevant to their lives, and richly illustrated with examples that encourage students to think more, to think harder, and to think differently about performances around them. The text incorporates a variety of pedagogical strategies to encourage students to demonstrate, apply, extend, and share their discoveries about theory. Each chapter provides student-centered exercises, activities, and prompts. From Aristotelian tragedy to on-line avatars, Dramatism to performativity, cultural performance to public protest, canon wars to virtual reality, Theories of Performance brings classic, modern, and postmodern theories to life in the classroom. "Elizabeth Bell has done a prodigious, expert, and original synthesis of the new work in performance studies here, by grounding performance in communication theory and practice. Students reading this book will more readily see how and why performance is a way of communicating, empowering them to critically participate in producing and consuming the myriad texts and performances in which we are immersed. The a??Act Outa?? and other boxes present effective and innovative learning activities; they move performance from a display of competence to participation in bodily knowing. In short, Theories of Performance is an exceptional accomplishment. " a?? Kristin M. Langellier, University of Maine" Theories of Performance is the BEST synthesis of performance studies issues, concepts, and methodologies that yet exists. This textbook is invaluable and will make performance studies classrooms a??smartera?? and more sophisticated both in terms of content and in practice. What a treat it will be to offer students a text that takes the best thoughts, practices, and examples and presents it to them in an engaging, surprising, and provocative format!" a?? Keith Pounds, Hofstra University Companion Web site: www.sagepub.com/bellstudy/

Table of Contents

Introducing Theories of Performance
Theory in Perspective: Can You See the Forest for the Trees?
What Is Theory?
Theory Questions: What? Why? How?
Kinds of Theory Questions
Assumptions about How Language Operates in Theory
Two Models of Communication
Performance as a Communicative Form
Assumptions about Performance: Mimesis, Poiesis, and Kinesis
Performance as a Key Term
Definitions of Performance
Claims about Performance: Constitutive, Epistemic, and Critical
Rethinking Theory and Performance
Constituting Performance
Theory in Perspective: What Makes a Performance?
The "Nature" of Performance
Constituting Performance through Framing
Constituting the Performance Frame through Keying
Constituting Performance through the Performer
Constituting Performance through Audience
Rethinking Performance
Performing Texts
Theory in Perspective: What Is a Text?
Humans and Symbol Use: Text Me Later. OK?
From Orality to the Page to the Screen
Interpreting the World as "Text"
When Text Meets Performance
Drama, Script, Theater, and Performance
Assumptions about Texts: Canon, Textuality, and Materiality
Interpreting Texts
Text Versus Performance
Rethinking Texts
Performing Drama
Theory in Perspective: How Is the World a Stage?
The Drama of a Roller Coaster Ride
Reigning Metaphor: Life as Drama
What Is Aristotelian Drama?
Audience and Dramatic Form
Kenneth Burke's Dramatism: Life Is Drama
Performing Tragic and Comic Attitudes
From Dramatism to Social Drama
Analyzing Social Dramas
Social Drama: Raw Material for Performances
Rethinking Drama
Performing Culture
Theory in Perspective: How Do Cultures Perform?
What Is Culture?
Approaches to Studying Culture
From Studying "Man" to Theorizing Movement and Play
Rites of Passage: Moving through Culture
Homo Ludens/Playing Man
Characteristics of Ritual
Rituals Are Performed
From Great Tradition to Cultural Performance
The "Performance Turn" in Study of Culture
Performing History
Performing Others
Rethinking Culture
Performing Social Roles
Theory in Perspective: Who Am I?
Don't Play Games with Me!
"What's Wrong?"
"What's Right?"
Teams: Performing Together
Regions: Performing Spaces
When Good Performances Go Bad
Impression Management
Role Distance and Discrepant Roles
Stigmas and "Spoiled" Identities
Passing Genders and Races
Performing Disability
Rethinking Social Roles
Performing Identity
Theory in Perspective: How Am I a Subject?
Do Social Roles Assume a Foundational Self?
Performativity's Rejections and Projects
Identity Constitution as Material and Historical
A Strategy for Identity Critique
From Philosophy to Speech Act to Laws
A Political Practice of Identity
Rethinking Identity
Performing Resistance
Theory in Perspective: How Can Performance Change the World?
From Aristotle to Postmodernism
Bertolt Brecht on Performing Resistance
Alienation Effects of Epic Theater
Brechtian Techniques as Critical Lenses
From Brecht to Boal
Why Do People Take to the Streets? Models of Protest
Public Events through an Aristotelian Lens
Carnival and Protest
From Traditional to Radical Dramaturgy
Analyzing Protest Events as Performances
The Body Politic: How Do Bodies Intervene?
Resistance in Everyday Life: Foucault's Productive Power
Resistance in Everyday Life: de Certeau's Strategies and Tactics
Rethinking Resistance
Performing Technologies
Performing Technology
Theory in Perspective: What Exists?
Caveat Emptor: Buyer Beware of Old and New
What Is Technology? Extending Human Bodies and Powers
From Deus ex Machina to Flash Mobs: Extending, Enabling, and Accessing Performance
Performance Presence: An Ontology
Six Types of Theatrical Presence
Losing the Aura of Presence
Simulacra: There Is No Original
Cyborg Bodies: Human and Machine
Performing Cyborgs
Musical Performance: Is it Live or Is It Memorex?
Interactivity: From "Poke and See," Cyberpoetry, to Computer Art Environments
Reach Out and Perform Someone: Five Kinds of Mediated Presence
Rethinking Technologies
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