The Grammar of Politics and Performance: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Grammar of Politics and Performance

1st Edition

Edited by Shirin M Rai, Janelle Reinelt


Look Inside
Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138684065
pub: 2016-06-01
Hardback: 9780415716505
pub: 2014-12-08
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315879871
pub: 2014-12-05
from $28.48

FREE Standard Shipping!


This volume brings together important work at the intersection of politics and performance studies. While the languages of theatre and performance have long been deployed by other disciplines, these are seldom deployed seriously and pursued systematically to discover the actual nature of the relationship between performance as a set of behavioural practices and the forms and the transactions of these other disciplines.

This book investigates the structural similarities and features of politics and performance, which are referred to here as ‘grammar’, a concept which also emphasizes the common communicational base or language of these fields. In each of the chapters included in this collection, key processes of both politics and performance are identified and analyzed, demonstrating the critical and indivisible links between the fields. The book also underlines that neither politics nor performance can take place without actors who perform and spectators who receive, evaluate and react to these actions. At the heart of the project is the ambition to bring about a paradigm change, such that politics cannot be analyzed seriously without a sophisticated understanding of its performance. All the chapters here display a concrete set of events, practices, and contexts within which politics and performance are inseparable elements.

This work will be of great interest to students and scholars in both International Relations and Performance Studies.


Through a compelling interdisciplinary collaboration the authors of this book advance a new and radical political grammar; one that merges politics and performance to confront the widespread disillusion with conventional channels of democratic participation.

Roland Bleiker, Professor of International Relations, University of Queensland, Australia.

A fine collection of perceptive interventions into current debates at the intersection of performance and politics. It offers a distinctive combination of material, spatial and rhetorical analysis that will be vital reading for scholars and students in politics and performance studies.

Nicholas Ridout, Queen Mary University of London, UK.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Janelle Reinelt and Shirin Rai 2. Performing Democracy: Roles, Stages, Scripts John Parkinson 3. Performance at the Crossroads of Citizenship Janelle Reinelt 4. ‘I am an American’: Protesting Advertised ‘Americanness’ Cynthia Weber 5. Characterisation and Systemic Gender Violence: the Example of Laundry and the Figure of the Mother in Irish Culture Lisa Fitzpatrick 6. Theatricality vs. Bare Life: Performance as a Vernacular of Resistance Silvija Jestrovic 7. Becoming a Democratic Audience Alan Finlayson 8. Street Arts, Radical Democratic Citizenship, and a Grammar of Storytelling Susan Haedicke 9. Tahir Square, EC4M: the Occupy Movement and the Dramaturgy of Public Order Sophie Nield 10. Temporality, Politics and Performance: Missing, Displaced, Disappeared Jenny Edkins 11. Performance and Politics: Ceremony and Ritual in Parliament Shirin Rai 12. Bringing the Audience Back In: Kenya’s Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission and the Efficacy of Public Hearings Gabrielle Lynch 13. Betrayal and What Follows: Rituals of Repentance, Healing and Anger in Response to the Church Sexual Abuse Scandal in Ireland Joshua Edelman 14. Closet Grammars of Intentional Deception: The Logic of Lies, State Security, and Homosexual Panic in Cold War Politics James Harding 15. Afterword Mike Saward

About the Editors

Shirin M. Rai is Professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick, UK.

Janelle Reinelt is Professor in the Department of Theatre Studies at the University of Warwick, UK.

About the Series


The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.


We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:

‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA


Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory