Historical Social Research

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Mary M. Gergen & Kenneth J. Gergen, Performative Social Science and Psychology [Abstract]

This article presents an overview of “Performative Social Science,” which is defined as the deployment of different forms of artistic performance in the execution of a scientific project. Such forms may include art, theater, poetry, music, dance, photography, fiction writing, and multi-media applications. Performative research practices are in their developmental stage, with most of the major work appearing in the last two decades. Frequently based on a social constructionist metatheory, supporters reject a realist, or mapping view of representation, and explore varieties of expressive forms for constructing worlds relevant to the social sciences. The performative orientation often relies on a dramaturgical approach that encompasses value-laden, emotionally charged topics and presentations. Social scientists invested in social justice issues and political perspectives have been especially drawn to this approach. Performative social science invites productive collaborations among various disciplinary fields and between the sciences and arts.