Presence and Resistance

Postmodernism and Cultural Politics in Contemporary American Performance
Philip Auslander
Examines performance art in the 1980s and new modes of political art in a media-saturated culture


This study sheds light on the political nature of postmodern performance, the understandings of postmodern culture that underpin it, and the particular strategies it employs. The first three chapters are devoted to a discussion of postmodern culture, which Philip Auslander sees as "mediatized" culture (borrowing Baudrillard's term), and to the general positioning of political art and performance within it. The five subsequent chapters are devoted to comparative discussions of issues raised by this positioning and by the critical strategies within specific performance practices drawn from both the avant-garde and popular performance, and to resistant representations of race and gender and performance's engagement with an information-saturated culture.

Presence and Resistance will interest readers in theater, drama, and performance studies as well as those concerned with issues in postmodern theory, cultural theory, feminism, popular culture, and media theory.

Praise / Awards

  • "...sophisticated and carefully considered readings of a wide range of performance texts. A good and important book."
    —David Savran, Brown University
  • "...a lucid and eloquent counter to the prevailing notion of postmodernism as apolitical..."
    —Linda Hutcheon, University of Toronto
  • "This clearly and closely argued book summarizes in style as well as content some of postmodernist criticism's major tics and traits. This book is not for those who are resistant to or undecided about postmodernism."

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 216pp.
  • 10 B&W photographs in text.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1994
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-08278-0

Add to Cart
  • $29.95 U.S.