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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. .
“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.
In 2011, Doing Autoethnography—the first conference to focus solely on autoethnographic principles and practices—was held in chilly Detroit, Michigan on the campus of Wayne State University. The conference has since occurred four additional times (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016). Across the five conferences, thousands of attendees from more than ten countries have participated in hundreds of presentations, more than a dozen workshops, and multiple keynote addresses. The chapters in this collection represent outstanding work from the five conferences. Together, authors interrogate autoethnography ethically, theoretically, relationally, and methodologically. Readers will encounter many overlapping themes: identity norms and negotiations; experiences tied to race, gender, sexuality, size, citizenship, and dis/ability; exclusion and belonging; oppression, injustice, and assault; barriers to learning/education; and living with/in complicated relationships. Some chapters provide clear resolutions; others seemingly provide none. Some authors highlight conventionally positive aspects of experience; others dwell in what might be understood as relational darkness. Some experiences will likely resonate with many readers; others will feel unique, unusual, exceptional. In its entirety, the collection will take readers on an evocative, reflexive, and insightful journey.
This book draws upon cognitive and affect theory to examine applications of contemporary performance practices in educational, social and community contexts. The writing is situated in the spaces between making and performance, exploring the processes of creating work defined variously as collaborative, participatory and socially engaged.
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.

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