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Texts in Performance: Identity, Interaction and Influence in U.K. and U.S. Poetry Slam Discourses - Helen Gregory

HelenThis research provided a close analysis of poetry slam in the United Kingdom and United States, using the tools of ethnography and discourse analysis to produce an in-depth account, which was sensitive to the discursively constructed, situated meanings of slam participants. The aim was to explore how slam is understood by its participants, producing a partial ethnography, rather than a definitive history, defence or critique of slam.

The research on which this thesis is based focuses predominantly on slam in four key sites (Bristol and London in the U.K. and Chicago and New York in the U.S.), and considers how slam, as a global phenomenon spanning over two decades, has been reconstructed in different geographical, social and historical contexts. In addition, this study sought to highlight issues around: the ways in which artists understand art worlds and their positions within them; the multiple and complex power relations with which art world participants must engage; the transient, enduring and virtual communities which art world participants form; the local, translocal and transnational networks which link these communities and individuals together; and the ways in which new, avant garde art worlds may interact with those which are established/dominant.

© Rohan Van Twest

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