Performed Ethnography and Communication: Improvisation and Embodied Experience (Paperback) book cover

Performed Ethnography and Communication

Improvisation and Embodied Experience

By D Soyini Madison

© 2018 – Routledge

202 pages

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Performed Ethnography and Communication explores the relationships between these three key terms, addressing the impact of ethnography and communication on the cutting edge of performance studies. Ranging from digital performance, improvisation and the body, to fieldwork and staged collaboration, this volume is divided into two main sections:

  • "Embodied technique and practice," which addresses improvisation, devised theatre-making, and body work to consider what makes bodies move, sound, behave, mean, or appear differently, and the effects of these differences on performance;
  • "Oral history and personal narrative performance," which is concerned with the ways personal stories and histories might be transformed into public events, looking at questions of perspective, ownership, and reception.

Including specific historical and theoretical case studies, exercises and activities, and practical applications for improvisation, ethnography, and devised and digital performance, Performed Ethnography and Communication represents an invaluable resource for today’s student of performance studies, communication studies or cultural studies.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction


  • Embodied technique and practice
    • Technique
    • Practice
      • Examples

  • Improvisation
    • The inherited body we bring to performance
    • Key concepts in Improvisation
      • Examples

  • Devised Theatre
    • Ethnographic Data and Process
    • Suggested Stages of Devised Performance
    • Interview with Honey Pot Performance

  • Movement and Scenes of Body Work
    • Efforts and Factors from Laban/Bartenieff
      • Examples

    • The 5Rhythms from Gariel Roth
      • Examples

    • Newspaper theater from Augusto Boal
      • Examples


  • The Value of Oral History and Life Story
    • Who owns the story?
    • Interview with E. Patrick Johnson
    • Oral Narrative as permission, pedagogy, and provocation

  • The Narrative/Narrated Event
  • The Anatomy of Emotion: The Brain in Performance
    • Proprioception
    • Mirror Neurons and Simulation Theory

  • Performing Oral History and Life Story
    • Solo performance
      • Beginning Questions

  • Viewpoints in Rehearsal
    • Examples

  • Plastiques
    • Examples


  • Appendix 1: Example of Full Poetic Transcription and Analysis
  • Appendix 2: Illustration of Creativity and the Brain
  • Appendix 3: Example of Full Script: (1) Newspaper Theatre, (2) Movement and Myth, (3) Oral History and Performance
  • Appendix 4: Full Interview with E. Patrick Johnson


About the Author

D. Soyini Madison is Professor of Performance Studies at Northwestern University, USA.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies