In Performance and the Political, Ameet Parameswaran demonstrates how cultural performances can stage the political in ways that add to the more visible and traditional practices of popular politics. Through the lens of Performance Studies, the book explores Kerala’s transformation into a neoliberal region.
Influenced by contemporary theories of ‘affect’, Parameswaran highlights bodily sensory locations and actions, and embodiment in general, as important but neglected sites of enormous political significance. His first two chapters focus on two sensory locations central to the experience of any performance—vision and voice. The third emphasises gesture, while the last two chapters focus on two aspects that push at the boundaries of being-human—the machinic and the animal.
By closely analysing how these ‘affects’ and embodiments are used in performances, Parameswaran discusses the cultural politics of staging both the revolutionary and the terrorist during the Emergency of 1975–77 and after; the relationship between authoritarianism and democracy; and the emergence of a neoliberal consumption regime following widespread migration to the Gulf. In the process, he analyses diverse performance forms, like theatre, cinema, kathaprasangam, mimics parade and popular poetry recitals.
Deeply theoretical and original, this book will interest students and scholars of Performance Studies, Cultural Studies, Theatre Studies and Film Studies.
Vision Seeing and Acting in Times of Terror
Voice The Auratic and the Passion of Democracy
Gesture Ethics, Collective and the Ordinary
Machinic Sounding the Consumption Regime
Animal Zooësis and Becoming-With in Neoliberalism
Ameet Parameswaran is Assistant Professor, Theatre and Performance Studies, at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.