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This book is a manifesto. It is about rethinking performance autoethnography, about the formation of a critical performative cultural politics, about what happens when everything is already performative, when the dividing line between performativity and performance disappears. This is a book about the writing called autoethnography. It is also about what this form of writing means for writers who want to perform work that leads to social justice. Denzin’s goal is to take the reader through the history, major terms, forms, criticisms and issues confronting performance autoethnography and critical interpretive. To that end many of the chapters are written as performance texts, as ethnodramas. A single thesis organizes this book: the performance turn has been taken in the human disciplines and it must be taken seriously. Multiple informative performance models are discussed: Goffman’s dramaturgy; Turner’s performance anthropology; performance ethnographies by A. D. Smith, Conquergood, and Madison; Saldana’s ethnodramas; Schechter’s social theatre; Norris’s playacting; Boal’s theatre of the oppressed; and Freire’s pedagogies of the oppressed. They represent different ways of staging and hence performing ethnography, resistance and critical pedagogy. They represent different ways of "imagining, and inventing and hence performing alternative imaginaries, alternative counter-performances to war, violence, and the globalized corporate empire" (Schechner 2015). This book provides a systematic treatment of the origins, goals, concepts, genres, methods, aesthetics, ethics and truth conditions of critical performance autoethnography. Denzin uses the performance text as a vehicle for taking up the hard questions about reading, writing, performing and doing critical work that makes a difference.
In Performance Ethnography, one of the world’s most distinguished authorities on qualitative research, established the initial published connection of performance narratives with performance ethnography and autoethnography; the linkage of these formations to critical pedagogy and critical race theory; and the histories of these formations, and shown how they may be connected. Performance Ethnography is divided into three parts. Part I covers pedagogy, ethnography, performance, and theory as the foundation for a performative social science. Part II addresses the worlds of family, nature, praxis, and action, employing a structure that is equal parts memoir, essay, short story, and literary autoethnography. Part III examines the ethics and practical politics of performance autoethnography, anchored in the post-9/11 discourse in the United States. The amalgam serves as an invitation for social scientists and ethnographers to confront the politics of cultural studies and explore the multiple ways in which performance and ethnography can be both better understood and used as mechanisms for social change and economic justice. .
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.
This book addresses and demonstrates the importance of critical approaches to autoethnography, particularly the commitment that such approaches make to theorizing the personal and to creating work that embodies a social justice ethos. Arts-based and practice-led approaches to this work allow the explanatory power of critical theory to be linked with creative, aesthetically engaging, and personal examples of the ideas at work. By making use of personal stories, critical autoethnography also allows for commenting on, critiquing, and transforming damaging and unjust cultural beliefs and practices by questioning and problematizing the relationships of power that are bound up in these selves, cultures and practices. The essays in this volume provide readers with work that demonstrates how critical autoethnography offers researchers and scholars across multiple disciplines a method for creatively putting critical theory into action. The book will be vital reading for students, researchers and scholars working in the fields of education, communication studies, sociology and cultural anthropology, and the performing arts.
“It is time to chart a new course”, writes Norman K. Denzin in Interpretive Autoethnography, Second Edition. “I want to turn the traditional life story, biographical project into an interpretive autoethnographic project, into a critical, performative practice, a practice that begins with the biography of the writer and moves outward to culture, discourse, history, and ideology.” Drawing on C. Wright Mills, Sartre, and Derrida, Denzin lays out the key assumptions, terms, and parameters of autoethnography, provides a guide to using and studying personal experience, and considers the dilemmas and political implications of textualizing a life. He weaves his narrative through family stories, and concludes with thoughts concerning a performance-centered pedagogy and the directions, concerns, and challenges for autoethnography.
In this definitive reference volume, almost fifty leading thinkers and practitioners of autoethnographic research—from four continents and a dozen disciplines—comprehensively cover its vision, opportunities and challenges. Chapters address the theory, history, and ethics of autoethnographic practice, representational and writing issues, the personal and relational concerns of the autoethnographer, and the link between researcher and social justice. A set of 13 exemplars show the use of these principles in action. Autoethnography is one of the most popularly practiced forms of qualitative research over the past 20 years, and this volume captures all its essential elements for graduate students and practicing researchers.
This book is the first to examine the performance of autobiographical material as a theatrical form, a research subject, and a therapeutic method. Contextualizing personal performance within psychological and theatrical paradigms, the book identifies and explores core concepts, such as the function of the director/therapist throughout the creative process, the role of the audience, and the dramaturgy involved in constructing such performances. It thus provides insights into a range of Autobiographic Therapeutic Performance forms, including Self-Revelatory and Autoethnographic Performance. Addressing issues of identity, memory, authenticity, self-reflection, self-indulgence, and embodied self-representation, the book presents, with both breadth and depth, a look at this fascinating field, gathering contributions by notable professionals around the world. Methods and approaches are illustrated with case examples that range from clients in private practice in California, through students in drama therapy training in the UK, to inmates in Lebanese prisons.

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