Praxis: Drama as Reflective Action for Social Transformation
Praxis has been defined as "the action and reflection of people upon their world in order to transform it" (Friere 1972) and "the act of reflectively constructing or reconstructing the social world" (Grundy 1987). Arendt (1958) described praxis as being reflective of a relationship between individuals and their wider community. What is fundamental to the concept of praxis is that it is the integration of reflection with action, or simply, it is action informed by theory, with a view to transformation of the larger social community. The nature of this interaction may be that theory transforms action, which may in turn reshape theory, and so on, in an holistic relationship. It is also essential to this concept that the individuals and/or community are empowered to decide on the changes best suited to their specific contexts, and are enabled to identify or develop the tools to effect such change.
With this orientation in mind, we are seeking article submissions for an edited book on the social uses of drama and dramatic techniques (broadly defined). The focus of the volume is explicitly interdisciplinary in that we are looking for pieces that combine techniques and approaches from drama with sociological perspectives and frameworks such that drama is used for practical social purposes contextualised by sociological thinking. Submissions should demonstrate either implicitly or explicitly why dramatic techniques are especially or uniquely appropriate in effecting social change, critique, and/or action. The unique characteristics of drama/dramatic techniques, such as spontaneity (in the case of improvisation), use of role-play as a testing ground for interactions, or physicality in terms of bringing ideas and thoughts into an embodied form of expression would be relevant. The overall goal of the project is to elucidate how using drama for social purposes is essentially different from using art, sport, writing, music, or other activities.
We expect that submissions will span a number of areas, including the uses of drama in the following:
The acculturation process for immigrants and asylum seekers (for example, learning intercultural body language and communication)
The development of an open awareness and acceptance of other cultures and subcultures by social work professionals
Working with offenders
Education (including language acquisition)
Training in a range of issues including disability, children's issues and rights, and women's issues (for example, use of role play scenarios in teaching about date rape)
We also expect and hope that authors will represent a variety of fields and professions, including sociology, psychology and counselling, social policy, social care and social work, drama and theatre, and media and communications.
It is, however, crucial that submissions do not describe a practical setting or activity without explicitly embedding that practice within sociological theory with a view to social change, as the aim of this volume is to bring out those interdisciplinary links between drama and sociology. Submissions should be approximately 5,000-10,000 words, typed double spaced, and should use Harvard referencing style. Deadline: March 1, 2005. (Abstracts may also be submitted via email for consideration well prior to the deadline.)
Please send two hard copies by post to either:
Dr. Marnie Carroll (postal address shown below)
Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick
School of Humanities
Dept. of Applied Arts
Waterford Institute of Technology
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