2 Pages

Introduction to Part One

ByPetra Kuppers, Gwen Robertson

To Open the Community/Performance discussion, we begin with the pedagogies of communities, the kind of engagement opportunities that reside in the concept of ‘community’, and the practices that can meld people together into political aesthetic action. Defining ‘community’ is hard, indeed, and it is even harder to escape an unreflective celebration of communality. Victor Turner identified ‘communitas’ as a limit experience: as a state of being with others that transcends differences. In this state, it is easy to feel warmth and love towards others. It is much harder to sustain this communality into political engagement, and into a serious reflection on the differences that need to stay visible and experiential if a community is to sustain itself and grow. Many of the writers in this section address these problems, and present processes and ways of thinking about ethics of engagement that try to remain open to difference.