History, Performativity, and Dialectics

Critical Spectatorship in Learning Disabled Performance

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

In this chapter, I explore the relationship between learning (or intellectual) disability and performance (as both a social and cultural phenomenon) to argue that recent developments in theatrical performance by learning disabled artists reclaim the historical functions of professional fools, or “artificial idiots”, in ways that fundamentally alter contemporary understandings of learning disability. The central tenet of my argument is that the historical distinction between “natural idiots” and the “artificial fools” of the professional theatre was based on recognition of the former as singular, and the latter as doubled. Consequently, through this doubling, “artificial fools” were read as performative and dialectical, while their socio-natural counterparts were politically misrecognised as non-performative and non-dialectical.

This historical conception of learning disability produces an impasse in current critical spectatorship as audiences struggle to reconcile learning disability with performativity. To navigate this impasse, I propose critical attention to the dialectical operations of learning disabled performance, exploring Hegelian dialectics in a consideration of the integrated punk band Heavy Load, and Adorno’s Negative Dialectics in an extended reflection on the British television drama Marvellous.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Disability Arts, Culture and Media
EditorsBree Hadley, Donna McDonald
Place of PublicationAbingdon
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Chapter14
ISBN (Electronic)9781351254687
ISBN (Print)9780815368410
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Fingerprint

History
Spectatorship
Performativity
Dialectics
Learning Disability
Artificial
Fool
Impasse
British Television
Doubling
Intellectual Disability
Negative Dialectics
Conceptions of Learning
Artist
Social Phenomena
Tenets
Cultural Phenomena
Television Drama
Punk Band

Cite this

Calvert, D. (2018). History, Performativity, and Dialectics: Critical Spectatorship in Learning Disabled Performance. In B. Hadley, & D. McDonald (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Disability Arts, Culture and Media Abingdon: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.
Calvert, David. / History, Performativity, and Dialectics : Critical Spectatorship in Learning Disabled Performance. The Routledge Handbook of Disability Arts, Culture and Media. editor / Bree Hadley ; Donna McDonald. Abingdon : Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2018.
@inbook{ac87a75f52c24da18417902555b82878,
title = "History, Performativity, and Dialectics: Critical Spectatorship in Learning Disabled Performance",
abstract = "In this chapter, I explore the relationship between learning (or intellectual) disability and performance (as both a social and cultural phenomenon) to argue that recent developments in theatrical performance by learning disabled artists reclaim the historical functions of professional fools, or “artificial idiots”, in ways that fundamentally alter contemporary understandings of learning disability. The central tenet of my argument is that the historical distinction between “natural idiots” and the “artificial fools” of the professional theatre was based on recognition of the former as singular, and the latter as doubled. Consequently, through this doubling, “artificial fools” were read as performative and dialectical, while their socio-natural counterparts were politically misrecognised as non-performative and non-dialectical. This historical conception of learning disability produces an impasse in current critical spectatorship as audiences struggle to reconcile learning disability with performativity. To navigate this impasse, I propose critical attention to the dialectical operations of learning disabled performance, exploring Hegelian dialectics in a consideration of the integrated punk band Heavy Load, and Adorno’s Negative Dialectics in an extended reflection on the British television drama Marvellous.",
keywords = "Learning disability, Arts, Performance, Dialectics, Spectatorship",
author = "David Calvert",
year = "2018",
language = "English",
isbn = "9780815368410",
editor = "Bree Hadley and Donna McDonald",
booktitle = "The Routledge Handbook of Disability Arts, Culture and Media",
publisher = "Routledge Taylor & Francis Group",

}

Calvert, D 2018, History, Performativity, and Dialectics: Critical Spectatorship in Learning Disabled Performance. in B Hadley & D McDonald (eds), The Routledge Handbook of Disability Arts, Culture and Media. Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, Abingdon.

History, Performativity, and Dialectics : Critical Spectatorship in Learning Disabled Performance. / Calvert, David.

The Routledge Handbook of Disability Arts, Culture and Media. ed. / Bree Hadley; Donna McDonald. Abingdon : Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 2018.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

TY - CHAP

T1 - History, Performativity, and Dialectics

T2 - Critical Spectatorship in Learning Disabled Performance

AU - Calvert, David

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - In this chapter, I explore the relationship between learning (or intellectual) disability and performance (as both a social and cultural phenomenon) to argue that recent developments in theatrical performance by learning disabled artists reclaim the historical functions of professional fools, or “artificial idiots”, in ways that fundamentally alter contemporary understandings of learning disability. The central tenet of my argument is that the historical distinction between “natural idiots” and the “artificial fools” of the professional theatre was based on recognition of the former as singular, and the latter as doubled. Consequently, through this doubling, “artificial fools” were read as performative and dialectical, while their socio-natural counterparts were politically misrecognised as non-performative and non-dialectical. This historical conception of learning disability produces an impasse in current critical spectatorship as audiences struggle to reconcile learning disability with performativity. To navigate this impasse, I propose critical attention to the dialectical operations of learning disabled performance, exploring Hegelian dialectics in a consideration of the integrated punk band Heavy Load, and Adorno’s Negative Dialectics in an extended reflection on the British television drama Marvellous.

AB - In this chapter, I explore the relationship between learning (or intellectual) disability and performance (as both a social and cultural phenomenon) to argue that recent developments in theatrical performance by learning disabled artists reclaim the historical functions of professional fools, or “artificial idiots”, in ways that fundamentally alter contemporary understandings of learning disability. The central tenet of my argument is that the historical distinction between “natural idiots” and the “artificial fools” of the professional theatre was based on recognition of the former as singular, and the latter as doubled. Consequently, through this doubling, “artificial fools” were read as performative and dialectical, while their socio-natural counterparts were politically misrecognised as non-performative and non-dialectical. This historical conception of learning disability produces an impasse in current critical spectatorship as audiences struggle to reconcile learning disability with performativity. To navigate this impasse, I propose critical attention to the dialectical operations of learning disabled performance, exploring Hegelian dialectics in a consideration of the integrated punk band Heavy Load, and Adorno’s Negative Dialectics in an extended reflection on the British television drama Marvellous.

KW - Learning disability

KW - Arts

KW - Performance

KW - Dialectics

KW - Spectatorship

UR - https://www.routledge.com/The-Routledge-Handbook-of-Disability-Arts-Culture-and-Media-1st-Edition/Hadley-McDonald/p/book/9780815368410

M3 - Chapter

SN - 9780815368410

BT - The Routledge Handbook of Disability Arts, Culture and Media

A2 - Hadley, Bree

A2 - McDonald, Donna

PB - Routledge Taylor & Francis Group

CY - Abingdon

ER -

Calvert D. History, Performativity, and Dialectics: Critical Spectatorship in Learning Disabled Performance. In Hadley B, McDonald D, editors, The Routledge Handbook of Disability Arts, Culture and Media. Abingdon: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. 2018