Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Embodiment in Planning: What Can Planners Learn from Community-Based Theater?
by Lange, Zechariah Joseph , Ph.D., The Florida State University, 2020, 119; 27997383
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation is an examination of two community-based theaters operating in informal and social contexts to co-create cultural change. More specifically, through performances the two theaters in question seek to build relationships between community members as well as produce differential social movements/actions. Through the co-created performances at the grassroots level, the enactment of salient cultural messaging and relationality became the overall contributing base of this dissertation. One theater is in middle Appalachia and is called Appalachian Theater; the other is located on the Gulf Coast of Florida and is called Sitting in the Shade Together Theater.

The research with both theaters was conducted, to varying degrees, through actively assisting performances, participants, and the construction of interpersonal and intimate relationships. The implications of this vulnerable transparency as a reflexive positionality led to the theorization this dissertation stands upon. The research led to a questioning of current theorizations and conceptualizations regarding how one begins to know others/self/world through relationality as a socio-cultural intimate and supportive praxis of constructivist embodiment (chapter 2). The chapter argues that planners must behaviorally adapt themselves to the lived experiences of others for the ethical integration of institutions with the everyday lives of citizens–particularly those who are oppressed and vulnerable. As an extension of this theorization, I build on and critique current theorization and conceptions of therapeutic planning (chapter 3). In this critique, I problematize the use of short-term interventions seeking to ameliorate long-standing community traumas and suggest more generative and long-term relational community building praxes. Lastly, as an examination of intensive communicative and relational performance, the last chapter provides guidance on how the two community-based theaters operate as places of asset-based community development (chapter 4). More specifically, this chapter problematizes and reformulates McKnight and Block’s (2011) conceptualization of abundance. This piece emphasizes a need to progress beyond asset-based praxes and more into generative dimensions of ‘incarnation’ (Brummans, 2011) to assist in both building relationships, as well as adjusting how relationships are experienced at the community level.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Butler, William
Commitee: Dahl, Mary Karen, Jackson, April, McCreary, Tyler
School: The Florida State University
Department: Urban & Regional Planning
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 82/3(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Urban planning, Performing Arts
Keywords: Planning, Planners , Community-based theater
Publication Number: 27997383
ISBN: 9798664796797
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