Newsletter - link to JISCmail web
Issue 14 - December 2006 | Page 2/6

The Performative Social Science (PerformSocSci) list on JISCmail has been up and running for just over a year now. The idea for the list grew out of a Masterclass in Performative Social Science held by Dr Kip Jones at Bournemouth University’s Centre for Qualitative Research in October, 2005. Participants at the two-day Masterclass were interested in keeping in contact with each other and reading news of progress in this new and exciting field.

Exploring the possibilities of a "performative" social science grew directly out of dissatisfaction with limitations in publication and presentation of qualitative data. For instance, reciting papers to audiences or, worse, reading text from PowerPoint presentations directly to them (audiences who are certainly capable of reading slides for themselves) contributed to this discontent. Some of us, therefore, began to look to the arts and humanities for possible tools which might be transposed in order to better disseminate interview material at conference gatherings. As collage-makers, narrators of narrations, dream weavers and qualitative researchers are natural allies of the arts and humanities. In practical terms, promising possibilities include, but are not limited to, performance, film, video, audio, graphic arts, new media (CD ROM, DVD, and web-based production), poetry and so forth (Jones 2006).

A not so quiet revolution is currently taking place in qualitative research. The use of tools from the arts and humanities, in both investigation of patient concerns and dissemination of data, is gaining critical mass (Jones 2006). Photography,

music, dance and so forth have been added to the researcher’s investigative toolbox and “performance” - in the widest sense of the word - has become a catchphrase for the work of qualitative researchers no longer satisfied with typical PowerPoint conference presentations or journal restrictions. Qualitative investigators are courageously developing arts-based research methods and dissemination techniques in order to both investigate deeper and reach wider audiences. This is good news, not only for participants in research studies, who are often involved in producing subsequent performative reports, but also for the larger community to whom findings should be directed.

The PerformSocSci list has grown to over 145 members from around the globe since its inception and includes participants from a wide variety of disciplines. The newsgroup is a place for online conversations, announcements of events of possible interest to members and, generally, a place for information pertaining to performative social science to be shared. This communication outlet is particularly crucial in developing critical mass for this new and innovative field. To join go to the following website.

Reference - Jones, K. (2006) A biographic researcher in pursuit of an aesthetic: the use of arts-based (re)presentations in ‘performative’ dissemination of life stories.
Qualitative Sociology Review [online journal] April 2006. Available from the following website

Kip Jones PhD
Reader in Health Related Social Science
Centre for Qualitative Research
Bournemouth University, Bournemouth UK

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