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Performance and the Body : Performance, Politics, Populism

A range of political and social events in 2016 marked a significant geopolitical watershed as a result of the rise of global populism, as demonstrated by India, Turkey, USA, UK and Sweden, for example. This resulted in and was equally influenced by new kinds of mediascapes that are shaping emerging attitudes to truth, evidence and developments in digital culture. Regardless of whether our socio-political landscapes will prove to have undergone lasting changes as a result, these contexts require urgent critical analysis, particularly in relation to how they impact and manifest in embodied discourses. Furthermore, if as Benjamin Moffitt argues, populism is a ‘political style that is performed, embodied and enacted across a variety of political and cultural contexts’ (2016: 3) then what is the value of performance practices and studies to understanding and problematizing the politics, practices and structures of global populism?

Taking this into consideration, this year the Performance and Body Working Group seeks to explore the following questions:

          How is populism performed?

          How might performance studies, broadly understood, theorise populism as embodied practice and/or geopolitical approach to the practice of politics?

          How might embodied practices be useful to resisting populism?

Topics might include but are not limited to:

          protest and performance / performance of protest

          ‘post-truth’ and emotion

          social media, performance and populism,

          representations of resistance

          performance vs populism

          ideology, populism and responsibility

          populism and ethics

          the populist body

          regulated bodies

The convenors welcome proposals for traditional papers, practice research demonstrations, workshops or other forms of presentation as appropriate to your project. Please email all abstracts (no more than 300 words in length), an additional few sentences of biographical information and precise details of the audio-visual technology you will need to make your presentation to Royona Mitra (, Claire Hampton ( and Patrick Duggan ( The deadline for the submission of proposals is Thursday 13 April 2017.


Please note: only one proposal may be submitted for the TaPRA 2017 Conference. It is not permitted to submit multiple proposals or submit the same proposal to several Calls for Papers. All presenters must be TaPRA members, i.e. registered for the conference; this includes presentations given by Skype or other media broadcast even where the presenter may not physically attend the conference venue.

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