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Playing with Purpose: Adventures in Performative Social Science

Overview

Distilling decades of work spanning their prestigious careers, Mary M. and Kenneth J. Gergen make a strong case for enriching the social sciences through performative work. They present a unique exploration of the origins of performative social science and provide an intellectually rich overview of its significance in the field, as well as its evolving potential. Many of their own performance pieces are included in the volume. The authors envision a broadening of the social sciences, making it more accessible to ...

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Overview

Distilling decades of work spanning their prestigious careers, Mary M. and Kenneth J. Gergen make a strong case for enriching the social sciences through performative work. They present a unique exploration of the origins of performative social science and provide an intellectually rich overview of its significance in the field, as well as its evolving potential. Many of their own performance pieces are included in the volume. The authors envision a broadening of the social sciences, making it more accessible to non-experts and opening up new dialogues between society and science—and changing the world in the process. Social scientists and researchers will gain a valuable new perspective from this insightful tome.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This long awaited and eagerly anticipated book by two of social psychology’s most illustrious and adventurous innovators erases the divisions between the social sciences and the arts that have blocked the development of a truly unified arts-based human science. Introducing a dizzying array of diverse aesthetic forms that widen the space available for social research aimed at social justice and the good life, the Gergens don’t just talk about what the human sciences can become, they show it. Charming, playful, and fresh, Performing Social Science reveals the promise of an embodied, emotional, and ethical social science that situates the performance arts at the center of inquiry aimed at understanding the fullness of what it means to be human."

—Arthur P. Bochner, Distinguished University Professor of Communication, University of South Florida

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598745450
  • Publisher: Left Coast Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2012
  • Series: Writing Lives Series , #12
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary M. and Kenneth J. Gergen are among the originators of performative social science. Working both together and separately, they have been experimenting in various domains of performative social science since the 1980s. Their work has spanned literary, dramatic, and the visual arts. Both authors claim their origins in social psychology, but have long since disregarded disciplinary boundaries to generate dialogue both within the scholarly sphere and between scholars and practitioners. Mary M. Gergen is Professor Emerita, Penn State University, Brandywine, in Psychology and Women’s Studies. Her primary work has been at the crossroads of feminist theory and social constructionism. Among her major writings are Feminist Thought and the Structure of Knowledge; Social Construction: Entering the Dialogue (with K. J. Gergen); and Feminist Reconstructions in Psychology: Narrative, Gender, and Performance. She has performed at numerous conferences, offering dramatic monologues, often on the role of women in society. Kenneth J. Gergen is a Senior Research Professor at Swarthmore College. He has been a major contributor to social constructionist theory and to relational theory and practice. Among his major writings are Realities and Relationships; The Saturated Self; An Invitation to Social Construction; and Relational Being, Beyond Self and Community. His work in performative social science has focused on philosophical issues, relational processes and meaning-making.

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Table of Contents

I. Toward a Performative Social Science Scholarly Foreplay Science as a Social Practice: The Grand Liberation The Loss of Privileged Language From Observation to Construction From “What Is” to “What Could Be” Fires at the Door: Performance Arts/Studies The Flowering of Performative Social Science Contributions of Performative Social Science Enriching Social Science Expanding Scientific Horizons: New Ways of Knowing Pluralizing Voices and Values Sustaining Reflection and the Creative Impulse Social Science and Society Expanding Audiences and Dimensions of Engagement Stimulating Dialogue Effecting Social Change Revitalizing Society: Ambiguity and Social Change II. Literary Arts: Playing with Potentials Duographic Writing Let’s Pretend: A Duography Collaging Voices Life Stories: Pieces of a Dream Multiplying Metaphors Skipping Stones, Circles in the Pond Multiple Narratives Gaze and the Naked Maja: Si(gh)tes for Controversy The Dialogic Alternative Juxtaposing Genres The Very Idea of Self-Knowledge Reflections on Writing III. Dramatic Arts Performing the Mind Dilemmas of Dualism Psychology as Relational Action The Scenarios of Psychological Life Performing Theory Against Mod Mascu-linity & Post-Mod Macho: A Feminist End-Play Theatrical Power Woman as Spectacle or Facing Off: Cavorting with Carn-ival Knowledge The Costume is the Message What’s Wrong With My “I Reflecting on Dramatic Performances IV. Visual Arts and the Performative Playing with Sam Relational Art Photographic Playtime Visual Rhetorics of the Real Visual Deconstruction Visualizing Truth Illustrating Organizational Theory Reflecting on Visual Performance V. Extending Experiments Sculpting Ideas Cartooning and Critique To Song! The Power of Multi-Media Cyber-Graphics Fragmented Moments: Haiku Reflecting on the Extended Experiments

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