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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Theater as Praxis: Discursive Strategies in African Popular Theater
Author:Desai, Gaurav
Year:1990
Periodical:African Studies Review
Volume:33
Issue:1
Period:April
Pages:65-92
Language:English
Geographic terms:Nigeria
Kenya
Botswana
Zambia
Africa
Subjects:citizenship education
theatre
Architecture and the Arts
Link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/524628
Abstract:The author analyses the discursive construction of popular theatre in various African contexts including Botswana, Zambia, and Nigeria. The relationship between interpretation of social facts and social change is examined. Freirian theory (named after the Brazilian adult educator Paulo Freire) suggests that the opposition between interpretation and change is deceptive because interpretation is itself a social practice engaged in the legitimation or subversion of existing social structures. This concept of discourse is used to examine two types of discourse: the discourse associated with the theatre, and the discourse of theatrical practices. As for the first type, the manner in which it legitimizes existing social practices is most vividly noted in the case of the 'Laedza Batanani' 'theatre for development' project of Botswana where such discourse limits theatrical functions. As for the second type, the case of the Ahmadu Bello Samaru project (Nigeria) suggests that the discourse of theatrical practices hinders a truly liberating social practice. This stems from the fact that the villagers do not play an active role in the process of theatrical codification. In this respect, the Boalian practice at Kamiriithu (Kenya) represents an advancement. Controlled by the people, this theatrical practice embodies the dialects of interpretation and change simultaneously. If theatre as discourse has always been a social 'practice', at Kamiriithu it is fully realized as a social 'praxis', committed to a dialogic process of social change. Bibliogr.
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