chapter  7
15 Pages

The invisible state: disciplining the theatre field

Censorship is the promotion of state values. All states, to varying degrees, position themselves as guardians of society’s morality and values, and enact censorship as a legitimate exercise of their authority. Such displays of symbolic violence are at once public expressions of state power as they are the subjugation of alternative views or values. In many cases, the public show of state censorship serves to educate and inform citizens of what is deemed acceptable and what is not in society, as well as to act as moral and political signposts for subsequent artists, writers and other cultural producers. However, there are times when the public enforcement of censorship may erode the state’s legitimacy or what it purports to stand for. Where governments or political leaders may have made promises to liberalize the political arena or to offer greater leeway for individual expression, the public show of state censorship will invariably undermine the government’s moral authority. In such cases, censorship is not discontinued. It is invisiblized.