MASK: Performance, performativity and communication

Johanna Fawkes, Peter Denyer-Simmons

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The theoretical underpinnings of the MASK symposium on Performance, Performativity and Communication in the Professions and Creative Industries are found in the work of Erving Goffman, for example, Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1959) and its application to professions; Bourdieu's (Bourdieu, 1984; Bourdieu & Nice, 1977) concepts of practice, habitus and field in reproducing norms in social organisations, including professions; and concepts of performativity, power and embodiment from Judith Butler (1997, 2013). These scholars help explicate the formation and maintenance of identity in changing social conditions.There is a renewal of interest in these questions as social pressures and digital media create a climate of permanent performance, at work, leisure and home. Together with aspects of surveillance in contemporary western cultures it is hard to know when one is 'off' camera. Some writers, (e.g. novelist Marilynne Robinson, 2010) suggest this is leading to societies where inner experience is devalued in preference for the consumption and exchange of outward appearances; others (Finkelstein, 2007) point to time and places such as the French Imperial courts where similar pressures prevailed. There is also recent research on performance as methodology (Haseman, 2006; Hadley, 2013).These debates have implications for scholars in the field of theatrical performance itself, however mediated, as well as cultural commentators and those researching professions, identity and the challenges of the changing communication environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalFusion Journal
Issue number007
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


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