Conducting Embodied Research at the Intersection of Performance Studies, Experimental Ethnography and Indigenous Methodologies

By Magnat, Virginie | Anthropologica, July 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

Conducting Embodied Research at the Intersection of Performance Studies, Experimental Ethnography and Indigenous Methodologies


Magnat, Virginie, Anthropologica


Embodied Research

Embodiment, lived experience and intersubjectivity are key to experimental approaches articulated at the intersection of performance and ethnography. Yet the slippery nature of the territories which this research proposes to investigate has often contributed to undermining its academic credibility Since embodied experience eludes and possibly exceeds cognitive control, accounting for its destabilizing function within the research process potentially endangers dominant conceptions of knowledge upon which the legitimacy of academic discourses so crucially depends.

Within the discipline of anthropology, alternative ethnographic models that account for the lived experience of researchers and research participants have arguably been most compellingly articulated by indigenous and feminist ethnographers. Lassiter notes that American Indian scholars were among the first to produce a radical critique of ethnographic fieldwork and to "call for models that more assertively attend to community concerns, models that would finally put to rest the lingering reverberations of anthropology's colonial past" (2005:6). Lassiter further remarks that feminist scholars, writing "as women whose knowledge is situated vis-à-vis their male counterparts" are already positioned as Other (2005:59). Indigenous and feminist anthropologists therefore raise related epistemological and methodological questions about ethnographic authority and the politics of representation because they share similar concerns about the ways in which conventional methodologies enable researchers positioned within the academy to authoritatively speak for the Other (Lassiter 2005:56, 59). Positioning oneself from within the community they are studying and accounting for their own embodied participation in the culture of that community has led indigenous and feminist researchers to develop alternative research methodologies which foreground embodiment, lived experience and intersubjectivity, and which privilege collaboration and reciprocity.

While feminist ethnographers are committed to creating "more humane and dialogic accounts that would more fully and more collaboratively represent the diversity of women's experience" (Lassiter 2005:56), for indigenous ethnographers, consultation with community members is meant to ensure that the research they are conducting is mutually beneficial. In both cases, lived experience and accountability are linked and the researcher bears a moral responsibility to the community. When reflecting on his ethnography of Kiowa songs, Lassiter acknowledges that what mattered most to the Kiowa community was the power his interpretation would have in "defining [this community] to the outside - and to future generations of Kiowas for that matter." The questions that emerged from the research process were therefore about "who has control and who has the last word" (2005:11). Indeed, what is ultimately relevant to the Kiowa people is the power of the songs, for it is the embodied experience of singing these songs which sustains the cultural continuity of the Kiowa community.

"Meetings with Remarkable Women/Tu es la fille de quelqu'un," the SSHRC-funded research project1 1 am currently conducting with women artists whose experiential approaches to performance vitally depend on embodiment, similarly hinges upon questions of accountability, relevance, and reciprocity. Indeed, for these women from different cultures and generations, who often work with ancient traditional songs, it is the power of performance, transmitted through their teaching and performing, which gives meaning to their creative work as members of a transnational community of artists who share a direct connection to Jerzy Grotowski's groundbreaking performance research.

The significance of the cross-cultural research conducted by the Polish director was recognized through his appointment, in 1997, to the Chair of Theatre Anthropology of the Collège de France in Paris. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Conducting Embodied Research at the Intersection of Performance Studies, Experimental Ethnography and Indigenous Methodologies
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.