Performance Studies

D. Soyini Madison

in Anthropology

ISBN: 9780199766567
Published online August 2013 | | DOI:
Performance Studies

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  • Anthropology
  • Human Evolution
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  • Social and Cultural Anthropology


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Performance has evolved into ways of comprehending how human beings fundamentally make culture, affect power, and reinvent their ways of being in the world. The insistence on performance as a way of creation and being in contrast to the limited notion of performance as primarily entertainment has brought forth a movement to seek and articulate the phenomenon of performance in its multiple manifestations and imaginings. Understanding performance in this broader and more complex way has opened up endless questions that interrogate and enrich our understanding of history, identity, community, nation, and politics. Performance may now be embraced as an act of the imagination, a method or model of critique, and a politics of intervention. When one understands performance beyond theatricality and recognizes it as fundamental and inherent to life and culture, one enters the ambiguities of everyday, empirical spaces and places that are foreign, contentious, and often under siege. One enters the ordinary and discreet and interprets both poetics and politics to discover extraordinary and embodied meanings and practices. Performance can no longer be defined as primarily mimetic or theatrical, but is instead defined by the multiple elements that it now demands and that inhere within the shifting domains of performative analytical frameworks; by its embodied methodologies and poetic applications; and by situated modes of action that are within the dramaturgy of social life, cultural performances, and spectacular events. Performance and ethnography combine in this bibliography, which lists selected sources that illuminate performance as theory, method, praxis, social process, cultural event, rhetorical poetics, and embodied action.

Article.  9988 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology ; Human Evolution ; Medical Anthropology ; Physical Anthropology ; Social and Cultural Anthropology

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