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Social Sci LibreTexts

14: Performance (Griffith & Marion)

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    • Identify cultural performances and performances of culture in various settings.
    • Explain the various reasons that anthropologists study performance.
    • Describe the role of performance in both reflecting and contributing to social change.
    • Define “presentation of self.”
    • Articulate the relationship between performance and cultural constructions of gender.
    • Analyze social conflicts using a theatrical lens.
    • Differentiate between descriptive and performative utterances.
    • Evaluate the outcomes of performance, especially as they relate to hegemonic discourses.
    • Recall framing devices that are used to mark the boundaries of performance.
    • Define intertextuality.

    As you learned in earlier chapters, whether a night out is a “concert” or a “date” (and the appropriate behavior for each) is part of the learned and shared system of ideas and behaviors that comprise culture. The events—sporting events, shows, rituals, dances, speeches, and the like—are clearly cultural performances. At the same time, though, these activities and the interactions they involve are replete with culturally coded and performed nuances such as the lingering eye contact of a successful first date. In other words, there are two types of performances associated with our interactions with others: cultural performances (such as concerts) and performances of culture (such as dating). This chapter looks at both types of performance, exploring the different ways culture is performed and the effects of such performances.

    Thumbnail: Members of Metallica onstage. Image used with permission (CC BY-SA 4.0; Kreepin Deth).