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Performance: A Critical Introduction Paperback – Dec 9 2003

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First Sentence
The term "performance," as it is encountered, for example, in departments or programs of "performance studies" in the United States today, is heavily indebted to terminology and theoretical strategies developed during the 1960s and 1970s in the social sciences, and particularly in anthropology and sociology. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Pretty much the only coherent overview of "Performance Art" Nov. 30 2008
By Mike - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I was taking a modern drama class. The course readings were baffling and the plays were fashionable nonsense in a fashion I didn't understand.

This book tells you what the relevant ideas are for understanding (inasmuch as inscrutable irrationalist art can be understood, at least) "performance" succinctly. It identifies the theorists associated with various performance styles, and relates major events in the history of "performance art".

The style is reminiscent of Russell's History of Western Philosophy. It's mildly informal (but richly informed), fairly dry, very succinct, and ultimately so compact as to be almost bullet-point like. A true rarity in a field filled with obscurantism. This guy is a knowledgable and phenomenal writer to essentialize an entire field full of baffling primary sources so well and transform it into a textbook.

An absolute must buy if you have to take a modern drama or performance class.
Superb--and comprehensive Aug. 23 2013
By William Grange - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Carlson has organized the book with a mind to setting forth the historical precedents for what has come to be known as "performance studies." There is a wealth of information here, but there are also cultural contexts which reveal the various strands of sociology, psychology, and political philosophy which form and support the idea of "performance." Superbly well written and brilliantly researched.