Theater of Transgression: Staging Collective Identity and Action Among Immigrant Communities

Mascarenas, Angela Agustin (2010) Theater of Transgression: Staging Collective Identity and Action Among Immigrant Communities. Doctoral thesis, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Full text not available from this repository.


The role of the arts in social movements is known but relatively understudied. Even more understudied is its role in the political engagement of immigrant communities. This dissertation addresses this concern through a case study of a twenty-year-old Filipino American community theater group in Chicago called Pintig (meaning "pulse"). Through an in-depth analysis of the long history and distinct community theater practice of Pintig called collective historicizing, the study shows that its dialogic characteristics and processes render theater as a potent site and means for collective engagement by politicizing identity and preparing participants for larger collective action. Collective historicizing, as defined and instituted by Pintig , refers to organizing principles and grassroots processes for collecting individual and community stories that focus on shared histories and struggles and emphasize creative collective engagement in confronting structures of oppression and working for social change. It is operationalized along three dimensions, namely, orientation, aesthetics, and organization (O-A-O). Performances serve as the artistic synthesis of collective historicizing. Bakhtin's approach to language is used as the primary conceptual framework for analyzing Pintig's collective historicizing framework and processes. In the main, Bakhtin argues that language must be analyzed as a communication event within a specific historical, social, and cultural context that involves signification or meaning-generation and understanding. Approached thus, dialogism becomes its most important feature, i.e. its intersubjective ("intertextual") and historically-specific dimension. Overall, the study reveals that the dialogic O-A-O framework and processes of collective historicizing capture much of what goes on in the development of political consciousness and the mobilization of collective participation of immigrants. Concretely, Orientation captures the burning issues and concrete experiences of community members, i.e. their collective stories, as they are collected, discussed, negotiated and prepared for expression. Aesthetics highlight the immigrants' indigenous forms of expression, i.e. their collective voices. Organization culls the immigrants' "home-grown" ways of approaching issues and addressing them, i.e. their collective ways. Hence, collective historicizing renders community theater as a potent site and means for developing, nurturing, and engaging immigrants' individual and collective agency for dealing with daily struggles, addressing community concerns and confronting larger oppressive structures.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Chicago, Illinois, USA, diaspora, Filipino-American identity, Filipino-American theatre, identity politics, Pintig, theatre, theatre criticism
Depositing User: Machine Whisperer
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2017 05:55
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2017 05:55

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item