© 2015

Anthropology, Theatre, and Development

The Transformative Potential of Performance

  • Alex Flynn
  • Jonas Tinius

Part of the Anthropology, Change and Development book series (ACD)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Reflecting on Political Performance: Introducing Critical Perspectives

  3. Ethnographies of Political Performance in Developing Contexts

  4. Theatre as Paradigm for Social Refl ection: Conceptual Perspectives

  5. Back Matter
    Pages 357-368

About this book


The contributors explore diverse contexts of performance to discuss peoples' own reflections on political subjectivities, governance and development. The volume refocuses anthropological engagement with ethics, aesthetics, and politics to examine the transformative potential of political performance, both for individuals and wider collectives.


Art Performance Theatre Cultural Politics Anthropology Activism Protest Politics Subjectivity Ethics Development Studies anthropology ethnography theatre

Editors and affiliations

  • Alex Flynn
    • 1
  • Jonas Tinius
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyDurham UniversityUK
  2. 2.King’s CollegeUK
  3. 3.Division of Social AnthropologyUniversity of CambridgeUK

About the editors

Dan Baron Cohen, community-based arts-educator and cultural activist, Brazil. Jane Plastow, Leeds University, UK. Jeffrey S. Juris, Northeastern University, USA. Rolf C. Hemke, Theatre an der Ruhr in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany. Nicholas J. Long, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK. Milo Rau, International Institute for Political Murder. Rafael Schacter, University College London, UK. Catherine Schuler, University of Maryland, USA. Caroline Gatt, University of Aberdeen, UK. Stavroula Pipyrou, University of St Andrews, UK. Clare Foster, University College London, UK.

Bibliographic information


'When is reflection political, ethical? This multidimensional collection on performance as theatre opens up an arena for exploration through the sheer audacity of its scope. Anthropologically informed, diversely interpreted, it is a compelling example of unexpected collaborations.' - Marilyn Strathern, University of Cambridge, UK

'The conversation between Anthropology, Theatre and Development is long and profound - and this collection deepens it further through a powerful set of analyses that draw on an impressive range of theoretical sources and geographically-located practices. Its breadth is excellent and it will strengthen the thinking, and I hope practice, of those that seek to expand the scope of performance and anthropology scholarship.' - James Thompson, The University of Manchester, UK

'This collective book proposes a lucid rethinking and critique of the field of 'theatre for development'. It is based on the premise that, because of its ineluctable embeddedness in place and locality, engaged performance has a particularly powerful contribution to make to the ever-elusive goal of sustainability. 'Relational' and 'embodied' reflexivity emerge from the rich spectrum of chapters as a compelling new paradigm for political transformation and for an effective theory and practice of sustainability; it also offers an antidote to the detached rationality of globalized modernity and expert-driven development, so essential to healing the ravages on nature, peoples and cultures caused by it. This volume should be read by those working on art and performance, development, and sustainability in fields such as anthropology, geography, politics, and environmental, social movements, and global studies. It constitutes a much welcome and illuminating voice in the cacophony of debates on the post-2015 development agenda and sustainable development goals taking place at present.' - Arturo Escobar, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA