Troubling ViolenceA Performance Project

Troubling ViolenceA Performance Project

M. Heather Carver and Elaine J. Lawless

Print publication date: 2014

ISBN: 9781604732085

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi


This book, which follows the collaboration between the author, a performance studies professor, and ethnographic folklorist Elaine J. Lawless, traces the creative development of a performance troupe in which women take the stage to narrate true, harrowing experiences of domestic violence and then invite audience members to discuss the tales. Similar to the performances, it presents real-life narratives as a means of heightening social awareness and dialogue about intimate partner violence. “Troubling violence” refers not only to the cultures in our society that are “troubling,” but also to the authors’ intent to “trouble” perceptions that enforce social, cultural, legal, and religious attitudes that perpetuate abuse against women. Performance, the book argues, enhances ethnographic research and writing by allowing ethnographers to approach both their field studies and their ethnographic writing as performance. The book also demonstrates how ethnography enhances the study of performance. The authors discuss the development of the Troubling Violence Performance Project in conjunction with their own “performances” within the academy.