Showing Off, Showing Up
Studies of Hype, Heightened Performance, and Cultural Power
The interdisciplinary essays in Showing Off, Showing Up examine acts of showing, a particular species of performance that relies on competition and judgment, active spectatorship, embodied excess, and exposure of core values and hidden truths. Acts of showing highlight those dimensions of performance that can most manipulate spectators and consumers, often through over-the-top heightening and skewing of presentation. Many forms of showing and of heightened performance, however, operate more enigmatically and covertly while still profoundly affecting the social world, even if our reactions to them are initially flippant or unconcerned because “it’s just a show.” Examining a wide range of examples—from dog shows to competitive dancing to carnivals to striptease, the essays illuminate how such events variously foster competition, exaggerate a characteristic, and reveal hidden truths. There is as much to be learned about the power of showing through subtlety and underlying intentionality as through overt display. The book’s theoretical introduction and 12 essays by leading scholars reveal how diverse, particularly efficacious genres of showing are theoretically connected and why they merit more concerted attention, especially in the 21st century.
“From top to bottom, the pieces of Showing Off, Showing Up are compelling, well-researched, and stand at the forefront of performance studies scholarship and hold the potential to move the field forward in very significant ways. It will find an appreciative audience with scholars and students in the field.”
— Jonathan Chambers, Bowling Green State University
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