Acting out of habits - can Theatre of the Oppressed promote change?: Boal's theatre methods in relation to Bourdieu's concept of habitus.
2008 (English)In: Research in Drama Education, ISSN 1356-9783, E-ISSN 1470-112X, Vol. 13, no 1, 71-82 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Habits make everyday life manageable, but can also become obstacles and cause problems. The tendency to repeat old patterns of behaviour is a common problem for individuals and for society as a whole. Unreflexive habitual actions constitute an important aspect of social reproduction. In this article, two questions are addressed: Why is change so hard to achieve? Can Theatre of the Oppressed be used to promote change? A close reading of the French sociologist Bourdieu in relation to Boal's theatre methods is undertaken to answer these questions. Bourdieu's concept of habitus serves to explain the persistence of status quo; structural aspects are embedded in how we think and act, and are also inscribed in the body. These unconscious aspects of habitus are interesting in relation to theatre, where the conscious use of body language, inner dialogue and action are central. Looking at Boal's theatre methods in the light of Bourdieu's concept of habitus, Theatre of the Oppressed clearly has the potential to make social structures, power relations and individual habitus visible and, at the same time, provide tools to facilitate change. It is one of the few methods that offers an integrated approach to work on individual, group and social levels, and involves both the body and the mind. If the methods are practised according to the principles outlined by Boal, they can be used not only to become aware of, but also to expand, habitus. As participants describe effects on their attitudes and actions, do they make changes in their daily lives? Are there any long-term effects of Theatre of the Oppressed? The work of Boal and others is promising, but to answer those questions more evidence is needed.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge , 2008. Vol. 13, no 1, 71-82 p.
habitus, personal development, social change, Forum Theatre, Theatre of the Oppressed
Research subject Educational Sciences in Arts and Professions
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-34373OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-34373DiVA: diva2:284614