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Hard labour and punitive welfare: the unemployed body at work in participatory performance

Bartley, S. (2017) Hard labour and punitive welfare: the unemployed body at work in participatory performance. Research in Drama Education, 22 (1). pp. 62-75. ISSN 1356-9783

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/13569783.2016.1263559


This article addresses the performance of labour in participatory arts projects and considers the implications of such activity on perceptions of the unemployed in the UK. Utilising a combination of biopolitical and necropolitical understandings of governance and drawing on two examples of theatre practice, Tangled Feet’s One Million (2013) and Helix Arts MindFULL (2013), I propose that participatory performance deploys bodily strategies to disrupt the construction of the unemployed in political rhetoric. As such, in a context of austerity, I argue this arts practice can function to support the agency of participants in challenging policy and seeking to re-establish the status of subjecthood to their precarious bodies. Additionally, I posit that specificities of the unemployed as a participant group illuminate broader complexities around value exchange within participatory arts practice.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:91731
Uncontrolled Keywords:Unemployment, embodiment, social policy, applied theatre, participatory arts
Publisher:Taylor & Francis


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