Citizen Media and Performance Studies

Book chapter

Chatzichristodoulou, M. (2018). Citizen Media and Performance Studies. in: Perez-Gonzalez, L, Blaagaard, B and Baker, M (ed.) Routledge Encyclopedia of Citizen Media Abingdon-on-Thames Routledge.
AuthorsChatzichristodoulou, M.
EditorsPerez-Gonzalez, L, Blaagaard, B and Baker, M

The Routledge Encyclopedia of Citizen Media sets out to chart the territory of citizen media, a new, fast evolving disciplinary terrain. Citizen media is understood in the context of this project as the physical artefacts, digital content, performative interventions, practices and discursive formations of affective sociality that ordinary citizens produce as they participate in public life to effect aesthetic or socio-political change. Pursuing an inclusive agenda, this understanding of citizen media encompasses such diverse forms of political and aesthetic intervention in public life as graffiti and other forms of street art, street performance, community theatre, rap and hip hop, community radio, citizen journalism, citizen photography, blogging, tweeting, documentary film making, hacktivism, fansubbing, and scanlation. As such it allows engagement with participatory cultures across the entire spectrum of a population, irrespective of their level of access to digital media.

Citizen Media and Performance Studies
Maria Chatzichristodoulou, London South Bank University, UK

This entry will examine a diverse range of performance practices that are, in some way, related to the notion of citizen media. As the connections between the two are emergent – and thus, to some extent, in the making – the entry will be led by current practice, adopting an empirical approach in the first instance. It will start by surveying contemporary performances that unfold within, intervene in or disrupt the public sphere, whether this is physical or digital. These could be street performances, activist/citizen actions, cyber-activist events, performance interventions, public forms of docu-dramas, performative gestures that disrupt quotidian happenings, and so on.
It will then attempt to differentiate – to the extent this is possible and desirable – between performance as an artistic (and activist) practice, and performative action as a methodological approach in the service of a political end; or what journalist Paul Mason has described as ‘gestural politics’ (2012: 1). To achieve that, the entry will apply key scholarly work; most notably Richard Schechner’s performance studies approach (2002, 2006), Austin’s theory of the performative utterance (1962), the notion of the performative turn, the idea of theatricality in relation to gesture and protest (Hughes and Parry 2015), and the concept of the experience economy (Pine II and Gilmore 1998).

Keywordscitizen media; performance studies; political theatre; gestural politics
Book titleRoutledge Encyclopedia of Citizen Media
Place of publicationAbingdon-on-Thames
SeriesCritical Perspectives on Citizen Media
Publication dates
Publication process dates
Deposited13 Dec 2018
Accepted19 Jun 2018
Web address (URL)
Accepted author manuscript
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