ABSTRACT

This chapter explores the relationship between performance and political activism in two senses. First, it looks at forms of artistic performance adopted by activist movements as an instrument to achieve political goals. Second, it examines public events, such as protests, rallies, marches, vigils, funerals, parades, sit-ins, etc. as performance. The chapter also provides a brief history of social movements from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries that have intentionally and skilfully mobilized various forms of performance in service of political struggle, such as the Civil Rights movement, the Zapatista insurgency, Black Lives Matter and others. Then, the chapter briefly discusses how performance activism might also backfire, ending with a few practical lessons on the elements necessary for performance activism to succeed.