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Lecture 6

THEA 3331 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Symbolic Power, Theatricality, Documenta

Course Code
THEA 3331
Alberto Guevara

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The Theatricality of violence
Violence is a social reality that encompasses all forms of controlling processes
that assault basic human freedoms and individual and collective survival
It is an evocative act
Figurative, ideological and physical embodiment of conicts
It should be understood as ‘a historical and political economic process’
Violence can be seen as a tool, but it can also be perceived as an arena of
domination and subordination
It is an ensemble of practices and discourses that establish truth claims
Strong regimes are instrumental within a culture of fear
Culture of fear and terror
Are based on and nourished by silence and myth… by means of rumour and
fantasy woven in a dense web of magic realism (Taussig 2004: 49)
Sometimes symbolic violence becomes institutionalized and a part of the
Fear is provided by the constant manipulation of facts
To understand violence as a representation of power, you can draw on
performance power
The theatricality of violence allows us to perceive the mechanisms of power
on an everyday level
It can also be seen as a methodology to research
You can also see the theatricality of power not on as a physical but mental
space s well for social control
Theatricality of Violence
As a social environment of control (governed by fear and social inaction) –
docile audiences
These rules and norms are governed by fear and social inactions
People did not looked stressed even in the presence of military and troops
Fear was all about people, but there was total silence about the war
Life was normalized in a certain war and was forgotten about
Rhetoricity and theatricality
Rhetoricity: as social, political and cultural intentionality, in contested
systems of power relations
Theatricality: the form of presenting a situation (i.e. violence) by actors
aiming to create a certain impression on audiences
The purpose of theatricality is to activate the audiences’ actions
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