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Tracking change in transient project communities: The case of an international theatre ensemble in Denmark

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Spencer Hazel


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This presentation focuses on a type of organisation made up of configurations of co-workers whose periods of engagement vary in length; in this case a theatre company. The administrative body of a theatre company can span years or decades with a degree of stability in the make-up of the workforce and roles. The theatre ensemble on the other hand, i.e. the cohort of people engaged to produce a performance, may be brought in to undertake a single project only. Following completion, this configuration is disbanded, with members moving on to work within other projects. Transient project communities such as the theatre ensemble provide rich grounds for studying processes of norm-formation, as they involve members who often have little or no previous experience of working with each other.Interaction analytic studies of human sociality have foregrounded the emergent, transient, and sequential properties of social phenomena. These include the practices through which “the business of the social world is transacted, the identities of its participants are affirmed or denied, and its cultures are transmitted, renewed and modified” (Goodwin & Heritage 1990, p283). Yet, processes characterised by ephemerality and temporality – such as those that characterise a theatre ensemble - are difficult to represent and submit to scrutiny.This paper uses video data recorded over the course of a rehearsal period to consider how social practices evolve over time, as members develop a greater sense of the work they are engaged in and the people with whom they are working. In tracking such change, the study raises questions of how we can faithfully represent the transient nature of these social configurations.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hazel S

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) 2017

Year of Conference: 2017

Pages: 191-192

Online publication date: 31/08/2017

Acceptance date: 31/05/2017

Publisher: BAAL