Writing Performance, Identity, and Everyday Life invites the reader into Ronald J. Pelias’ world of artistic and everyday performance. Calling upon a broad range of qualitative methods, these selected writings from Pelias submerge themselves in the evocative and embodied, in the material and consequential, often creating moving accounts of their topics.
The book is divided into four sections: Foundational Logics, Performance, Identity, and Everyday Life. Part I addresses the methodological underpinnings of the book, focusing on the ‘touchstones’ that inform Pelias’ work: performative, autoethnographic, poetic, and narrative methods. These directions push the researcher toward empathic engagement, a leaning toward others; using the literary to evoke the cognitive and affective aspects of experience; and an ethical sensibility located in social justice. Parts II–IV focus on artistic and everyday life performances, including discussions of the disciplinary shift from the oral interpretation of literature to the field of performance studies; empathy and the actor’s process; conceptions of performance; the performance of race, gender, and sexuality; and performances in interpersonal relations and academic circles.
By the end, readers will see Pelias demonstrate the power of qualitative methods to engage and to present alternative ways of being. Pelias’ work shows us how to understand and feel the evocative strength of thinking performatively.
Table of Contents
Introduction: A Way In
Part I: Foundational Logics
Chapter 1. Performative Inquiry: Embodiment and Its Challenges
Chapter 2. Writing Autoethnography: The Personal, Poetic, and Performative as Compositional Strategies
Chapter 3. Performative Writing as Scholarship: An Argument, An Anecdote
Chapter 4. Performative Writing: The Ethics of Representation in Form and Body
Chapter 5. Writing into Position: Strategies for Composition and Evaluation
Chapter 6. Pledging Personal Allegiance to Qualitative Inquiry
Part II: Performance
Chapter 7. A Paradigm for Performance Studies with James Vanoosting
Chapter 8. Empathy: Some Implications of Social Cognition Research for Interpretation Study
Chapter 9. Performance Studies: Meditations and Mediations
Chapter 10. Performance Is…
Chapter 11. Confessions of an Apprehensive Performer
Chapter 12. Toward a Poetic Phenomenology of Performance with Lesa Lockford
Chapter 13. Seductions
Part III: Identity
Chapter 14. The DEF Comedy Jam, bell hooks, and Me
Chapter 15. My Body’s Placement: An Autoethnographic Account of Communicative Practice
Chapter 16. Making My Masculine Body Behave
Chapter 17. Jarheads, Girly Men, and the Pleasures of Violence
Chapter 18. A Personal History of Lust on Bourbon Street
Part IV: Everyday Life
Chapter 19. Remembering Vietnam
Chapter 20. The Critical Life
Chapter 21. The Academic Tourist: An Autoethnography
Chapter 22. Always Dying: Living Between Da and Fort
Chapter 23. For Father and Son: An Ethnodrama with No Catharsis
Chapter 24. Remains
Chapter 25. The End of an Academic Career: The Desperate Attempt to Hang On and Let Go
Ronald J. Pelias is currently teaching part-time in the theatre program at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. His most recent books exploring qualitative methods are Leaning: A Poetics of Personal Relations (2011), Performance: An Alphabet of Performative Writing (2014), and If the Truth Be Told: Accounts in Literary Forms (2016).
If you’re new to Ron Pelias’ work, you’ll find treasure here: riches you will not tire of, that will reward you for what you give - time, attention, openness. If you’re already familiar with Pelias' work, or think you are, you might need to reconsider: the range, depth and sheer beauty of Pelias' writing will take you somewhere new. There’s treasure here for you too. This is a vibrant collection of texts from a giant of qualitative inquiry.
Jonathan Wyatt, Senior Lecturer, Director of the Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry, The University of Edinburgh