1st Edition

Writing Performance, Identity, and Everyday Life
The Selected Works of Ronald J. Pelias

ISBN 9780367592110
Published August 14, 2020 by Routledge
304 Pages

USD $48.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

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

View More



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