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Performative social science : a consideration of skills, purpose and context

Performative Sozialwissenschaft: Überlegungen zu Qualifikationen, Zweck und Kontext
[journal article]

Roberts, Brian

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Abstract 'This article reviews recent work applying a notion of 'performance' in the study and representation of lives. It tries to clarify some of the issues involved - including the meaning of 'performance' - and 'performative' - the range of possible approaches (e.g., in addition to drama-other arts) and the relationship between 'subjects', 'researcher' and 'audience'. An immediate concern is the nature of the researcher - as having the necessary skills and abilities or knowledge involved in 'performance' (in researching, writing, recording and representing), as engaged (to some extent) in 'artistic' endeavour, and moving between a number of 'roles' and social relations in 'performing' with/ to others (the 'researched' group, audience and society). An important issue for social science in crossing or bridging the social science-arts, in taking up 'performative approaches', is 'What remains distinctive about the social science if it becomes involved with performance approaches?' As a source for comparison (and inspiration), some brief reference will be made to the work of Kandinsky - who moved across disciplinary boundaries and artistic practices - as ethnographer, painter, teacher, designer, theorist and poet. Finally, perhaps, there is a deeper 'turn' indicated by the 'turn to performance' in the study of lives, a more 'complete' portrait of the individual as an active, communicative and sensual being.' (author's abstract)
Keywords film; sociology; qualification; art; biomedicine; Internet; documentary film; ethnography; psychodrama; theater; social science; social scientist; dance
Classification General Sociology, Basic Research, General Concepts and History of Sociology, Sociological Theories; Cultural Sociology, Sociology of Art, Sociology of Literature; Sociology of Science, Sociology of Technology, Research on Science and Technology; Ethnology, Cultural Anthropology, Ethnosociology; Interactive, electronic Media
Method basic research
Document language English
Publication Year 2009
Page/Pages p. 307-353
Journal Historical Social Research, 34 (2009) 1
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works