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After '89Polish Theatre and the Political$
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Bryce Lease

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781784992958

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784992958.001.0001

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Introduction: really existing democracy

Introduction: really existing democracy

(p.1) Introduction: really existing democracy
After '89

Bryce Lease

Manchester University Press

While nationalism under communism had particular social functions, some (though not all) of which held subversive potentials, in a liberal democracy nationalism often attests to the needs of conservative factions that foreclose contestation, counter the conditions for free individual self-development, mobilize popular anxieties and perpetuate domination by constructing the national as an omnipotent apparatus that manages and reduces difference through assimilatory and disciplinary strategies. There is an anxiety expressed about theatre practice that motivates unwavering adherence to particular social formations and classifies community as a site of normative values and fetishized cultural identities. Opposing a nationalistic theatre as a nexus for community spirit that constructs democratically defined difference as a threat to or a violation of the rights of an originary ethnic, national population, I will propose and corroborate a political theatre that encourages dissensus, and which is constitutively disruptive and skeptical of communities that are not heterogeneous and coalitional. Providing an overview of significant developments in theatre practice in the postcommunist environment, the work of key directors, grapple with shifts in terminology relating to Polish politics, and attempt to define the parameters of a political theatre practice is highlighted.

Keywords:   Political Theory, Dissensus, Postcommunism

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