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Performing the micro-social: using theatre to debate research findings on everyday life, health and wellbeing

Byrne, Ellie, Elliott, Eva ORCID: and Williams, Gareth 2016. Performing the micro-social: using theatre to debate research findings on everyday life, health and wellbeing. Sociological Review 64 (4) , pp. 715-733. 10.1111/1467-954X.12432

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This paper describes and critically assesses the use and development of a model of participatory theatre to re-appropriate the ways in which a place in the de-industrialised south Wales valleys is represented. Neo-liberal policies which focus on individual responsibility, conditionality, sanctions and incentives frame the production of statistics on health inequality and deprivation in particular ways. While ‘place’ can be a resource for expressing positive identities this presents people living in economically under resourced areas with a problem if that place based identity is also subject to vilification. In this paper we focus on three objectives: to explore negative stereotypes of a post-industrial community; to describe the methods and process of working alongside local people to offer alternative ways of understanding place; and to discuss the implications of using community theatre for policy and practice. We argue that theatre-based forms of place-making and dialogue can create spaces where policy issues, such as health and wellbeing, can be discussed in the context of everyday local concerns. Meanings in common are generated in ways that create affective understandings of place and the impact of economic change and crisis (Jones et al., 2013). These co-productive processes are uncertain, emergent, and risky and need to be managed carefully in the context of trustful relations.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Uncontrolled Keywords: Territorial stigma, inequality, health and wellbeing, participatory theatre, micro-sociality
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0038-0261
Funders: AHRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 January 2017
Date of Acceptance: 10 August 2016
Last Modified: 02 May 2023 15:27

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