Creating an Identity. Participatory Theater As a Tool in Sociologist Work

Friday, 20 July 2018: 11:15
Oral Presentation
Aleksandra PORANKIEWICZ-ŻUKOWSKA, University of Białystok, Poland
The mainstream of my research will refer to the ideas of Jerzy Grotowski and will concern the question – whether, and to what extent may the activities of the participating theater form a research laboratory for a contemporary sociologist?

I will be interested primarily in the following issues:

First of all, can a participatory theater serve as a tool for constructing a personal identity? Following the thought of modern researchers (Anthony Giddens, Peter J. Burke et al.), we know that as a result of the transformations associated with globalization, the acquisition of personal identification has become the life-task of individuals. In addition, the process has undergone a great deal of complication in the sense that the participants in social life have to deal with the situation of too many choices and, consequently, to use the words of Ulrich Beck, they have to deal with greater risk in social situations. They need a variety of competencies in the processes of accepting and playing social roles and the ability to manage emotions whose natural laboratory seems to involve participatory theater. It is a laboratory not only for active viewers but also for the actors who make it.

Secondly, participatory theater can also provide a potential basis for exploring group processes (especially social identities). In this sense, it would be particularly valuable because its social space, in the fashion of present-day communities, is not closed, in the sense that it is presumably reconstructed by the active participation of the ever-evolving audience.

And finally, in my opinion, it is worth considering the role of participatory theater in constructing collective identities. I mean here a lot of contexts in this issue. Theater as a facility to construct a multicultural identity, national identity, local identity etc.