By James T. Bratcher
Read Online or Download Analytical Index to Publications of the Texas Folklore Society, Vols. 1-36 PDF
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Extra resources for Analytical Index to Publications of the Texas Folklore Society, Vols. 1-36
As long as no vaccine is in sight and the anti-retroviral drugs are too expensive or distant, social changes and behavioral counteractions are the only ways out of the maelstrom. In this chapter, a quite recent type of cultural performance is outlined in terms of an auspicious preventive action in the African AIDS epidemic, namely community theatre and, especially, the movement called Theatre for Development. I shall argue, in light of ritual traditions and discourses, that this kind of theatre not only invents new ways of acting out and then talking about hushed up and hidden aspects of the epidemic, but also represents a viable alternative to former ritual practices as well as to daily discourse.
Grimes argues that imposed patterns of cultural orders and practices were “treated as if they were discovered,” which gave way, in turn, to prescribed models functioning “as if they were laws determining how rites should be structured” (Grimes 2000, 107). “Rites of passage can seem perfectly magical,” he writes, “but only if you keep your eyes and ears trained on what transpires center stage. 5 Viewed this way, ritual studies are Performative interventions 35 predicated on the same secular conditions as performance studies, just as ritual performances are set on the same societal stage and in relief against the same circumstantial setting as are theatrical performances.
Each of these elements of Bateson’s statement further defines the kind of Peircean Symbolic signification that the performance patterning enables in important ways. To begin with the first and most basic point, Bateson’s concept of what kind of an idea it is that the Balinese are generalizing through the tightrope walker figure concerns relationship. “Relationship,” in the sense of “relationship” – the capacity to form, and the general condition of being in, relations – was an all-important concept in Bateson’s overall discourse and must be read in this passage with this larger context in mind.