Troubling Violence: A Performance Project
M. Heather Carver,Elaine J. Lawless | 2009-04-15 00:00:00 | University Press of Mississippi | 160 | Domestic Violence
Troubling Violence: A Performance Project follows the collaboration between performance studies professor M. Heather Carver and ethnographic folklorist Elaine J. Lawless. The book traces the creative development of a performance troupe in which women take the stage to narrate true, harrowing experiences of domestic violence and then invite audience members to discuss the tales. Similar to the performances, the book presents real-life narratives as a means of heightening social awareness and dialogue about intimate partner violence.
"Troubling violence" refers not only to the cultures in our society that are "troubling," but also to the authors' intent to "trouble" perceptions that enforce social, cultural, legal, and religious attitudes that perpetuate abuse against women. Performance, this book argues, enhances ethnographic research and writing by allowing ethnographers to approach both their field studies and their ethnographic writing as performance. The book also demonstrates how ethnography enhances the study of performance. The authors discuss the development of the Troubling Violence Performance Project in conjunction with their own "performances" within the academy.
This review is excerpted from the STORYTELLING MAGAZINE, April-May 2010 issue, written by Jo Radner. Jo is a friend of mine, and I'm copying it in order to provide information to AMAZON readers.
"Read this book," Jo writes, "if you have any interest in performing or presenting stories to heal. Carver and Lawless write forcefully, dramatically (indeed, often as script) about developing a student performance troupe to tell women's stories of domestic violence. Their personal stories...are interwoven wih accounts of the evolution of this undertaking in which stories 'serve to bring violence and abuse into the room,' into 'a safe space we have created.'" Jo concludes by stating: "This innovative text breaks the conventions of academic writing, just as the Troubling Violence project itself breaks performance and ethnographic conventions. Both project and writing are powerful forces."
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