The book advances our understanding of performance as a mode of caring and explores the relationship between socially engaged performance and care. It creates a dialogue between theatre and performance, care ethics and other disciplinary areas such as youth and disability studies, nursing, criminal justice and social care. Challenging existing debates in this area by rethinking the caring encounter as a performed, embodied experience and interrogating the boundaries between care practice and performance, the book engages with a wide range of different care performances drawn from interdisciplinary and international settings. Drawing on interdisciplinary debates, the edited collection examines how the field of performance and the aesthetic and ethico-political structures that determine its relationship with the social might be challenged by an examination of inter-human care. It interrogates how performance might be understood as caring or uncaring, careless or careful, and correlatively how care can be conceptualised as artful, aesthetic, authentic or even ‘fake’ and ‘staged’. Through a focus on care and performance, the contributors in the book consider how performance operates as a mode of caring for others and how dialogical debates between the theory and practice of care and performance making might foster a greater understanding of how the caring encounter is embodied and experienced.
transformation upon unsuspecting communities. In this sense, this edited collection also considers how theories and practices of care might challenge some of the assumptions made about sociallyengagedperformance and the way efficacy is defined and measured within this field.
This introduction now turns to further consider some definitions of care by examining some of the theorisation in this area developed within care ethics. Building on the concept of care as ‘embodied’ knowledge (Hamington, 2004 ) and a form of ‘emotional labour’ (Hochschild, 2012 ), the discussions of
patriarchal justice, embracing a feminine, relational voice of care, Fisher and Tronto’s ( 1990 ) version extended caring from a human–human to human–environment activity, including world-making and maintenance labours. Understandings of care as a social activity, having influenced practices such as nursing, are now filtering across disciplinary boundaries into such fields as performance and design. The present edited collection picks up that discussion at the care/performance intersection, weaving a conversation around care and sociallyengagedperformance. We seek to
sociallyengagedperformance and to rethink what constitutes artistry and efficacy. The argument is that practices that acknowledge their presence in networks of interdependent care can build communities of affective solidarity, supporting the development of what Judith Butler terms a ‘sensate democracy’ ( 2015 : 207) – that is, a society that is more just, caring, mutually supportive and crafted with a collaborative, joyous sense of artistry. A sensate democracy here is understood as the contribution of artistic, and more broadly aesthetic, activity to the political