Narratives for a Better Future
Edited by Daniel Ericsson and Monika Kostera
Chapter 15: Street performances in hope for the future of the urban sphere: Human interaction, self-realization and emotive enactment
This chapter presents the topic of street performances in the context of everyday life in the public space. The author perceives street shows as phenomena of informal cultural entrepreneurship in the urban sphere. The hopeful meaning of the activity of street performers was described as: a human interaction, self-realization and emotive enactment. The aim of this chapter was to present ways of perceiving the activity of street performances through the social and academic perspective. The crucial attitude is focused on the interactional, emotional and unpredictable nature of street performances, requiring both managerial and artistic skills. The author presents the characters of unique performers, with their motivations and contributions. To sum up, street performances pose a possibility of human self-realization, but also community-based and non-commercial movements – which outwardly seem insignificant, but in practice are quite influential on various aspects of social life. The paper shows the results of an ethnographic study based on qualitative methods: unstructured interview and participant observation. The fieldwork consisted of attending street performances in the old towns and major areas of the most popular touristic Polish cities from 2014 to 2018. The ethnographic representation included street artists of various kinds of performance: theatre, music, dance, new circus arts and fine arts.
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