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SIEF2011 10th Congress: Lisbon, Portugal.
17-21 April 2011

(P224)

Performing creativity and creating performances: dialogues and tensions on experiencing culture and making places

Location Tower B, Piso 3, Room T15
Date and Start Time 19 Apr, 2011 at 11:30

Convenors

Paulo Raposo (ISCTE-IUL) email
Vânia Cardoso (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina) email
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Short Abstract

Drawing on the well-established history of anthropology of performance, in all its analytical variations, we propose to discuss the manner through which place and its identity are tensely and creatively performed in social and aesthetic dramas, in performative acts and narratives.

Long Abstract

Drawing on the well-established history of the anthropology of performance, in all its analytical variations and redefinitions, we propose to discuss the modes through which creativity and performance are foundational dimensions of the production of place and the engendering of the world. Experiences of the world and the construction of place and its identity, in diverse contexts and different instances, are creatively enacted in social and aesthetic dramas, in performative acts and narratives. We seek to critically reflect upon how the tense dialogues and narratives that produce and define human creativity are articulated in those places and through those creative experiences. Performances, as local expressive forms and creative manifestations, take on different forms of dramatizing meaning, experiencing the world, and producing individuation and collectivization. Those expressions destabilize and place in contention the very concept of creativity, thus demanding critical reflections that move beyond the classic oppositions between innovation and convention, individual and society, the extraordinary and the everyday, and improvisation and tradition.

We welcome contributions resulting from ethnographic experiences that focus on performance as creative expressions of the social processes of production of identity. We encourage approaches that highlight the tense dimensions of creativity and the manner through which performances take up a role as arenas of social and cultural conflict. We also seek contributions that creatively work with and put in tension the very concepts and frames used in the analysis of performance, in their various forms and expressions.

Discussant: Esther Jean Langdon and John Dawsey

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Spirits and stories: narrative performances and the (dis)location of time and place

Author: Vânia Cardoso (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina)  email
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Short Abstract

Narrative takes diverse modes of dramatizing meaning, (dis)locating subjects and producing individuation and collectivization as precipitations of experience. Here we turn to the local poetics of the narratives of the lives of the spirits of preto-velhos in macumba houses in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Long Abstract

Performances, as local expressive forms and creative manifestations, take on different forms. Those expressions destabilize and place in contention the very concept of creativity, thus demanding critical reflections that move beyond the classic oppositions between innovation and convention, individual and society, the extraordinary and the everyday. This essay seeks to critically reflect upon narrative as discursive forms that engender meaning in complex social acts. As local epistemological forms, narratives take diverse modes of dramatizing meaning, locating and dislocating subjects and producing at once individuation and collectivization as precipitations of experience. If we do not take narratives merely as modes of description or representation of the world, but as constitutive of that very world, we are then moved to closely consider the poetic forms of our objects. It thus requires that we situate our ethnography within an analytical space that turns our attention to the very performativity of signification. It is such an approach that allows us to engage with the partially told, partially heard stories that narrate the lives and deeds of spirits of preto-velhos - old black folk - that respond to the calling of the ritual songs and dances in the macumba houses across the suburbs of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Such stories cut across the space of ritual and daily lives, bringing into the present traces of a past that cannot be contained by a historical narrative that situates them in a long foregone past.

Creating Jerusalem by means of performance: some reflections on Polish Passion Plays

Author: Kamila Baraniecka-Olszewska (Polish Academy of Sciences)  email
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Short Abstract

During Passion play the audience is transferred to the liminal space of ancient Jerusalem - the town created not only on stage, but also in experience of performance participants. In the paper I would like to examine this creative power of performance.

Long Abstract

Action of Polish Passion Plays presenting the last moments of Christ's life takes place in Jerusalem erected on a stage. However, during the performance the town is created not only by stage decorations and by the knowledge about the presented history which, as the Bible says, happened in Jerusalem, but also by the attitude of the audience whose members feel as if they actually were in Jerusalem two thousand years ago. Participation in the performance transfers them to the liminal space in which the rules of the subjunctive mood (to use Victor Turner categories) play the main role. Potentiality ascribed to liminality itself as well as to the subjunctive mood allows the faithful to experience the Passion of Christ as if they were witnesses of real events, of the history fundamental to Christianity. Participation in Passion Plays and 'presence' in the liminal space of Jerusalem becomes a basis of creating religious identity of members of the Passion Plays' audience. And it is a special character of the performance, its form, that allows the audience a very special experience of the sacred place which in fact exists only in this experience.

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Performance and text in the making of Tashiding (Sikkim, India) as a power place

Author: Ana Cristina Lopes (Universidade de São Paulo)  email
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Short Abstract

This paper will discuss the role of prophecies, autobiographical writings, visions and rituals in the making of Tashiding as a power place. I intend to explore what I call “interperformativity,” arguing that any performance is the assimilation and transmutation of another. I hope to show that the performative quality of rituals reverberates back to autobiographical, prophetic and liturgical texts.

Long Abstract

Sikkim, northeastern India, figures in Tibetan Buddhist literature as a sacred hidden land. In autobiographies lamas recount their steps to “open” that land and “tame” the local gods through rituals. The “opening” of Sikkim is stipulated in prophecies, which describe it as a sanctuary where Tibetans could take refuge during political upheaval. Sikkim has indeed become a refuge for Tibetans escaping misfortunes over the last few centuries, and more recently after the Chinese invasion of their country in 1950. The consequent difficulty of entering Tibet for exile Tibetans has brought a major increase in its pilgrimage activity. Considered by Tibetans the navel of that land, the site of Tashiding annually attracts some of the most prestigious lamas living in exile, including the Dalai Lama. This paper will discuss the role of prophecies, autobiographical writings, visions and rituals in the making of Tashiding as a power place. Particular attention will be paid to the work of Lhatshun Namkha Jigme, one of the four pioneer Tibetan lamas who are said to have “opened” the land. I will focus specifically on a recent performance at Tashiding of one of his rituals by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, a lama whose activities and appeal are global in scope. In the analysis of this ritual, I intend to explore what I call “interperformativity,” arguing that any performance is the assimilation and transmutation of another. In so doing, I hope to show that the performative quality of this ritual reverberates back to autobiographical, prophetic and liturgical texts.

Rivalry and affection in the Amazonian Ox dances

Author: Maria Laura Cavalcanti (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro)  email
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Short Abstract

Based on theories of ritual and performance, and on ethnograhic research, the paper analyses the production and the expression of identification, belonging and rivalry that annually sets in motion the Ox-dance ("Boi-Bumbá") performances in Parintins, Amazonas/Brazil.

Long Abstract

Based on theories of ritual and performance, and on ethnograhic research, the paper analyses the production and the expression of identification, belonging and rivalry that annually sets in motion the Ox-dance ("Boi-Bumbá") performances in Parintins, Amazonas/Brazil. The Parintins Ox Dance Festival is an unique and creative variant of the traditional ox merry-making found in many different Brazilian regions.Parintins is a town located in an island in the Amazon river and its identity is now closely associated to the production of this festival in which two groups (with more or less two thousand people) perform an elaborated sequence of small dramas with songs and dances. The performances are held in a stadium during the three evenings of June´s last week-end and each group performances´take two hours and a half. Regional mithical themes are presented and celebrate a mestizo ("cabloco") identity that is enacted through the intense rivalry that opposes and unites the two Ox groups. The paper proposes an understanding of the fictional and symbolic dimension of the production and expression of this rivalry. The analysis of the festive process considers the aesthethic and social dimensions of its preparation as well as those of the ritual performances.

Rustaveli Boulevard: spatial organization and emotional landscapes

Author: Madlen Pilz (Leibniz-Institute for Regional Geography)  email
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Short Abstract

This paper is about the events in 2009, when people occupied the central space of political representation in Georgia's capital. Their aim was to negotiate the perception of democratic values/"good life". My focus will be on the bodily appropriation of space and performance of occupation.

Long Abstract

Location: South Caucaus, Georgia, Tbilisi, Rustaveli Boulevard. Since the first half of the 19th century the "Rustaveli" has been representing dominant (colonial) political and cultural power, first the Russian then the Soviet power. Even today the "people's boulevard" with the parliament building remains the main parade-route for political celebrations/representations on national holidays. New is its connotation as a national space of commemoration of Georgia's Independence.

In April 2009 the boulevard was transformed into a zone of protest for the 4th time in the last 20 years. The occupation of the space, which, following de Certeau, "played" with a temporal recoding of the space of "the Others" by building up an improvised "City of Cells" with its own infrastructure on the boulevard, lasted for 3 months. This provoked a reorganization of the city's space and life - original infrastructure, every day routines collapsed. It turned into a space of controversial negotiation about how past and future are perceived by different actors and how certain democratic values and "good life" are defined.

The spatial occupation and redefinition, an outburst of peoples dissatisfaction with the actual political and economic living conditions, I will conceptualize here as a Social Drama in structure and content. I will focus on the construction and perception of space and the appropriation and movement of bodies in this space, competing with the meaning inscribed by the surrounding architecture.

Veludo, lantejoulas e brilho: estética e prestígio nas cavalhadas de Pirenópolis

Author: Céline Spinelli  email
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Short Abstract

Nesta comunicação atentaremos à dimensão visual das cavalhadas de Pirenópolis (Brasil). As inovações recentes no plano estético e a espetacularização da festa são controversas. Esse processo impulsionou uma ressignificação da prática, que hoje se destaca no quadro da cultura popular brasileira.

Long Abstract

O veludo vermelho é cor de sangue, o azul tem um tom anil, um pouco escuro. Cada veste, ricamente bordada com lantejoulas e pedras brilhosas, reflete os raios intensos que banham o estado de Goiás em época de Pentecostes. Estamos no interior do Brasil, na pequena Pirenópolis, diante de vinte e quatro cavaleiros prestes a iniciarem as cavalhadas do ano. Ao longo de três tardes eles realizarão uma performance em que se encenará uma luta entre mouros e cristãos. Nesta comunicação, que expõe resultados parciais de pesquisa etnográfica, atentaremos à estética das cavalhadas pirenopolinas e a algumas implicações de sua recente transformação. As inovações visuais na festa começaram a ser implementadas a partir da década de 1970, acompanhando um processo político de divulgação turística da cidade. Elas não se realizaram sem conflitos e ainda hoje a incorporação de elementos da cultura de massa gera controvérsias no senso comum local, em debates centrados na problemática da tradição. As transformações estéticas e o investimento na festa estão na base de uma ressignificação das cavalhadas em Pirenópolis. Além de importante marca da identidade local, elas gradativamente tornaram-se um dos principais ícones da cidade. A valorização e o reconhecimento também as projetaram no plano nacional, à medida em que foram integradas ao rol do patrimônio imaterial brasileiro, consolidando-se como uma espécie de paradigma deste tipo de prática cultural no país.

'The 'Great Walk and More' Thupelo workshop 2010: performing community through the visual arts in Cape Town city, South Africa

Author: N Jade Gibson (University of the Western Cape )  email
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Short Abstract

This paper examines 'The Great Walk and More' Thupelo 2010 workshop in South Africa, involving artists warking with street residents in an imporverished area. Artistic creativity is explored as a performative means in relation to belonging and self, the contemporary art world, space and transition.

Long Abstract

Thupelo Arts project is an annual workshop extending from the 1980s in South Africa. It has remained as a space for artists to come together from all backgrounds to exchange ideas under the rubric of 'learning by example' through international and local workshops organized by Greatmore Art Studios in Woodstock, Cape Town. The year 2010 was a year where the World Cup was a focus for South Africa. During this time Greatmore ran an international Thupelo arts workshop and street festival 'The Great Walk and More' in which artists worked with street residents in Greatmore Street, an economically disadvantaged area of Woodstock. Although in the 1980s art institutions in Cape Town worked to establish arts workshops and draw artists from the community, many have since undergone demise and consequently, many argue, limiting contemporary fine arts tertiary education to the more privileged echelons of Cape Town. This paper examines the performative role of artistic creativity in reshaping notions of belonging and self within Cape Town city, access to and understanding of the contemporary art world, as well as creating a local visibility for residents in the city, bearing on questions of transition, space, society and personhood in a changing South Africa.

Cacuriá: dinâmicas de uma tradição dançada

Author: Luciana Hartmann (Universidade de Brasília)  email
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Short Abstract

Este trabalho, pautado em pesquisa etnográfica realizada com o Grupo de dança Cacuriá Filha Herdeira, de Sobradinho/DF/Brasil, e nos referenciais teóricos da Antropologia da Performance, levanta hipóteses sobre as dinâmicas de criação e transformação dessa manifestação expressiva brasileira, o cacuriá.

Long Abstract

Como se cria uma tradicao? A resposta certamente dependerá do campo teórico (ou prático) no qual o interlocutor se localiza. Mas a própria pergunta já carrega uma contradicao, já que, para muitos, tradicoes nao sao criadas, tradicoes apenas sao. Esse é um discurso ainda bastante corrente a respeito de diversas manifestacoes expressivas populares no Brasil. Mas o que acontece quando o discurso sobre uma tradicao aponta exatamente como ela foi criada, com data, local, nome e sobrenome? Esta comunicacao pretende apresentar os primeiros resultados de uma pesquisa sobre as narrativas que os integrantes do grupo Cacuriá Filha Herdeira, sediado em Sobradinho/DF, contam sobre o processo de criacao desta danca maranhense. Para esse pequeno exercício de compreensao do caso do Cacuriá Filha Herdeira opto por refletir, diacronicamente, sobre os múltiplos dramas sociais que se sucedem na história contada do grupo. Estes se apresentam como camadas que vão se superpondo. A relativa transparência destes dramas deixa entrever não apenas as primeiras imagens que o grupo quer guardar de si, mas também gera contaminações de imagens de períodos distintos. Que demonstram as dinâmicas de criação e transformação dessa manifestação expressiva brasileira.

Local videshis: Westerners performing the role of music students in Varanasi, India

Author: Mari Korpela (University of Tampere)  email
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Short Abstract

The paper discusses how Westerners in Varanasi perform their role as music students. It discusses the significance of the performances to their self-identities and elaborates on the cultural negotiations that emerge with local people, tourists and the place - a holy city of Hinduism.

Long Abstract

A few hundred Westerners repeatedly spend their winters in Varanasi which is a holy city of Hinduism in northern India. Most of the Westerners study Indian classical music there. In this paper, I discuss how they perform their role as music students. Such performances take place in various ways in their everyday lives and the performances play an important role in the construction of the Westerners' identities, in addition to being crucial in defining them as members of the alternative community in the eyes of the other Westerners in Varanasi. In my paper, I illustrate the performances by several empirical examples arguing that being a Western music student in Varanasi requires constant performative acts. I discuss the significance of such performances. I argue that the Westerners create a particular, very exclusive, way of being 'local videshis (foreigners)' and it is a question of constant negotiation (sometimes also conflicts) with local cultures, tourists and the place (loaded with meanings as it is a holy city). Eventually, it is also very much a question of defining one's distinctive identity; yet, the place where these performances take place is not an arbitrary choice. The paper is based on extensive ethnographic research that I conducted for my PhD (Korpela 2009) in Varanasi.

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The traditional samba school dance as a performative experience

Author: Renata Goncalves (Universidade Federal Fluminense - Rio de Janeiro - Brasil)  email
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Short Abstract

The couples dancers of mestre-sala and porta-bandeira are central components of Brazilian´s samba schools. They reach different streams of cultural traditions, synthesized by their ambiguous and creative performance that includes typical acts, and a specific self presentation and improvisation.

Long Abstract

The popular and spectacular Rio's samba schools compose an artistic system with authors, styles, aestheticians, critics, financiers, instructors and artists. For the present paper, it was chosen one of the components of this complex world that has a central role in the parades - the couple dancers of "mestre-sala" (ceremonious master) and "porta-bandeira" (lady who bears the school´s flag).

The ambiguous character of this couple is defined by its specific dance that is slower than the samba rhythm, by their typical acts, soft gestures, positions, looks, smiles, improvisation and by their antique customs in a luxurious spectacle. Their main role in the competition is evidenced by an exclusive judgment, carried through a jury that evaluates its traditional performance in the parade.

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Embodied performance: diaspora Balkan Romani music and dance

Author: Carol Silverman (University of Oregon)  email
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Short Abstract

Focusing on diasporic Muslim Macedonian Roma in Europe and New York, I analyze how music and dance express social relationships, status, conflict, gendered roles, and familial alliances. Embedded in dynamic performances and their mediated forms, performance emplaces Roma in a transnational network

Long Abstract

Music is a potent symbol of ethnicity for Roma in Balkan diaspora communities, where identity is constantly questioned and multiple allegiances compete. Focusing on Muslim Roma in Macedonia, Western Europe and New York, I analyze music and dance as gendered performances embedded in community ritual events. Furthermore, media performances such as videos and Youtube postings are trafficked across borders as a means to communicate in the diaspora. Music and dance express social relationships, status, and familial alliances; they are dynamic performative processes that can transform and build relationships, foster communication in the community or enact conflict. Because solo female dance is interpreted as sexualized, its dynamics are carefully monitored; women thus negotiate their display of sexuality via dance in varied contexts. The genre čoček is especially charged as both the badge of Romani ethnicity and the most potentially sexual, therefore potent art form. By comparing several sites of Romani community life in terms of attitudes, style and repertoire, I show how dance and music symbolically emplace men and women in meaningful rituals that encompass diasporic spaces.

Through performance, Roma grapple with representational issues and enact multiple positions in transnational contexts. A wider political and economic context frames how musicians negotiate viable performances for various audiences, including their own communities, other ethnic communities of the Balkans, and non-Romani world music audiences. I highlight the Balkans because they are home to some of the most populous European Romani communities and because many of the most famous musicians have come from this region.

Chica Chic, pesquisa em antropologia da performance

Author: Regina Muller (Unicamp/USP)  email
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Short Abstract

Análise das performances realizadas pela pesquisadora em homenagem ao centenário de Carmen Miranda, em 2009, sob a perspectiva da teoria da performance de Richard Schechner

Long Abstract

Pesquisa que aborda teorias da performance e metodologias na área da Dança e Teatro que desenvolvem treinamento psicofísico e o auto-conhecimento promovido pelo encontro com o "Outro". Em comemoração ao centenário de Carmen Miranda, em 2009, foram realizadas performances em espaços públicos e eventos acadêmicos e artísticos, tendo como roteiro para os laboratórios de criação e apresentações, a essência "queer" e "clownesca" da personagem Carmen Miranda. Na análise desse processo, o foco é o corpo como lugar de incorporação da personagem e a discussão teórica aborda o conceito de "comportamento recuperado" (restored behavior) de Richard Schechner .

A performance do corpo brincante

Author: Juliana Manhães (Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro - UNIRIO)  email
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Short Abstract

Este trabalho defende a importância do corpo brincante presente nas festividades e manifestações populares e suas articulações com o jogo, o ritual e a brincadeira. Falamos de um corpo que se comunica a partir da sua gestualidade, presente na sua memória afetiva e no seu cotidiano.

Long Abstract

O corpo brincante responde a diversos estímulos do jogo e do ritual. É um corpo que se move na espontaneidade da brincadeira, embalado pelos sons de tambores e canções que pontuam as pulsações dos movimentos, com uma percussão que dita o ritmo do pé no chão.

Refiro-me a um corpo marcado por sua própria história, sua vida cotidiana, que traz na sua gestualidade sinais do seu trabalho e suas espiritualidades. Podemos pensar neste corpo como estrutura física criando uma espécie de enraizamento, relação intensa com o solo ou como um corpo afetivo que acolhe memórias, trazendo marcas de natureza simbólica, expressando sua experiência enquanto ser humano.

Essa dança traz um corpo que se movimenta a partir das relações de jogo que estabelece um fluxo entre o risco da espontaneidade e a força de uma verdade presente no gestual das celebrações festivas.

Falamos de um corpo que se comunica a partir da sua gestualidade, e vive os seus movimentos a partir da sua relação pessoal com a brincadeira, sua memória afetiva e sua disponibilidade. Seus movimentos são elaborados a partir da repetição, ou seja, a força de sua sustentação enquanto brincadeira é a resistência de um comportamento restaurado, que, através da reiteração, se renova, criando variadas nuances, integrando divertimento e jogo, transformados em dança.

etnografias do encantamento e da inquietação: o poder transformativo da performance na encenação de Kasper por JGM

Author: Teresa Fradique (CRIA-ESAD.CR/IPLeiria)  email
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Short Abstract

A partir das propostas conceptuais de E. Fischer-Lichte para uma estética contemporânea da criação artística, serão analisadas as estratégias cenográficas e dramatúrgicas utilizadas pelo encenador JGM no seu espectáculo Kasper, como formas de criação de lugares simultaneamente espectaculares e culturalmente significativos.

Long Abstract

A partir de uma abordagem etnográfica do objecto artístico, o presente paper centra-se numa análise do espectáculo Kasper, encenado por João Garcia Miguel a partir do texto homónimo de Peter Handke. Através de uma sistematização da utilização intensa que é feita de imagens vídeo captadas em tempo real e a partir de várias webcams instaladas no palco e manipuladas por um complexo sistema de edição ao vivo será discutida a forma como o criador propõe à audiência um evento que não pode ser percepcionado nem legitimado apenas através das formas convencionais de exibição da prática teatral. Mas de que novas mediações estão aqui em jogo? O eixo central desta discussão será a ideia desenvolvida por Erika Fischer-Lichte sobre o poder transformativo da performance. Estas ideias serão cruzadas com a noção de Alfred Gell sobre os processos artísticos como tecnologias de encantamento.

Representing emotional experience on the dance stage: the reflexive and creative universe of Bill T. Jones's movements

Author: Maria José Fazenda (Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa)  email
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Short Abstract

Focusing on the modes of representation of emotional experiences in some of Bill T. Jones’ dance pieces, I intend to argue that these have a motivation and a sense that are only visible in the light of the political and socio-cultural context in which the choreographer moves.

Long Abstract

North-American choreographer, Bill T. Jones started his activity as a professional dancer in the 1970s. Jones brings onto the dance stage both his visions of the world and representations of his own experiences - experiences that come with age, gender, race, professional activity, illness, emotions, beliefs, values. Reflexivity is a characteristic of theatrical dance (Turner). But what is characteristic of Jones is that he practices and thinks about art and creativity explicitly in its direct relationship with his life experience. The way he verbalizes that relationship strengthens the intentionally reflexive dimension of his dance performances. Having in mind that the emotional experience is a factor that constitutes the person and conducts the performative act, and focusing on the modes of representation of emotional experiences in some of Jones's works created in the 1980s and 1990s — D-Man in the Waters, Achilles Loved Patroclus, Still/Here and Ursonate —, I intend to argue that these emotional expressions, have a motivation and a sense that, beyond the psychobiological explanations (Lutz and White), are only visible and understood if we interpret them in the light of the political and socio-cultural context in which the creator moves and which informs his own live experience.

Refugees and Asylum Seekers: The theater group RefugiActo and the struggle for social visibility through performance

Author: Cristina Santinho (ISCTE)  email
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Short Abstract

From refugees and asylum seekers experience in the theater group RefugiActo, we intend to discuss how individuals, who have been voted to a double invisibility, both in social and political terms, express their agency through performance.

Long Abstract

Immigration, in Portugal, has been for more than a decade, widely discussed in several contexts: in the Academy, Mass Media as well as in social and political realms. However, there are "forced migrants" - refugees and asylum seekers - who for long, have been afflicted by a double invisibility. On the one hand, social invisibility, enshrined by society's lack of knowledge regarding what it means to be a refugee. On the other hand, political invisibility that accentuates the lack of recognition of refugees as a collective demanding group. However , about 6 years ago, refugees and asylum seekers formed a theater group, named RefugiActo. This group has enabled refugees and asylum seekers to claim rights, in this sense giving them agency, through the performance of sketches that alert the public towards their social situation and the difficulties they face while trying to integrate and adapt to Portuguese society.

The purpose here is to discuss the dual performance experienced by refugees and asylum seekers: 1) The performance implied while narrating their history of trauma to the Border Control officials, as a means to legitimate their entry in Portugal 2) The performance through theater plays as a way to claim their political and social visibility in Portugal. Both constitute a form of agency in a globalized society where protectionist policies regarding refugees are practically non-existent (contradicting the intents of the Geneva Convention intended).

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.