Tuesday May 24th, 5pm, Jarman Studio 7
Studio 1, Jarman Building,
University of Kent, Canterbury
The Center for Cognition, Kinesthetics and Performance (www.c4ckp.org) at the University of Kent / Drama & Theatre Studies is delighted to welcome the distinguished Professor Bruce McConachie, Professor of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, University of Pittsburgh.
Professor McConachie, a leading academic on studies in cognition and performance, will be giving an open lecture on Tuesday 24th May. Professor McConachie is an entertaining and stimulating lecturer and his talk will last about 45 minutes with questions afterwards. This promises to be a most enjoyable occasion, to which all are warmly invited. If you have any questions please contact Melissa Trimingham on M.F.Trimingham@kent.ac.uk.
ALL THE WORLD IS NOT A STAGE
"All the world's a stage" is a truism in performance studies, legitimating investigations of role playing, impression management, social disability, and the wide field of "performance in everyday life." But how true is it, really? Since the publication of The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1959) and subsequent work by Erving Goffman, the fruitfulness of this metaphor has enjoyed some popularity in sociology but also much recent criticism. In the field of cognitive studies, several scholars have attacked mainstream sociology, including Goffman's work, for its blindness to the importance of the evolutionary and cognitive foundations of social dynamics. I'll examine a common social interaction from an evolutionary and cognitive perspective to demonstrate that Goffman's dramaturgical approach is not only unnecessary, but also misleading. Memory, empathy, habit, and the perception-action cycle are sufficient to understand most everyday social interactions; theatre-like role-playing does not occur. In contrast, stage acting always involves "conceptual integration," the cognitve operation that facilitates the merging of an actor and character. Finally, Goffman's dramaturgy involves an understanding of mimesis as the creation of illusions, a misreading of both social interactions and theatrical performances. Goffman's approach limits the reach of performativity, which occurs in all performances, including the theatre.