Foundations of Science

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 197–205 | Cite as

The Documentary Real: Thinking Documentary Aesthetics

  • Frederik Le Roy
  • Robrecht Vanderbeeken


In this article we consider the growing interest in recent years in the use of documentary strategies in the wold of contemporary art, film and performing arts and explore some of the central epistemological assumptions underpinning the persistent idea that the documentary should be equated with ‘non-fiction’. Following Stella Bruzzi we argue that if documentary theory maintains objectivity as the primary measure of value, it will inevitably and continuously arrive at the conclusion that the documentary genre is fundamentally flawed. Instead, we propose to move beyond the ‘realist epistemology’ of documentary theory and focus on the ‘documentary real’, i.e. the specific performativity of the reality constructed in and by the documentary genre. In the last paragraphs, we introduce the various articles that address the “documentary real” in this special issue.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Art, Music and Theatre Studies, Studies in Performing Arts and MediaGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.ACOD cultuurGhentBelgium

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