Foto av Tomi Visakko

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The current phase of my research project “Cultural Technologies of Self-Transformation” (2016–2019, funded by the Kone Foundation) studies the transformation of identities during a six-week community theater project for young adults. The participants of the theater project are first taught techniques and principles of art-making by professional artists, and finally they appear on stage in a co-scripted performance. Using ethnographic data and methods and drawing theoretically from anthropology, semiotics, and linguistics, the study clarifies how the participants step into new roles (e.g., those of artist and performer) and adopt the skills, techniques, values, attitudes, registers, and epistemologies associated with those roles. The fundamental questions that the study aims to address include 1) role socialization and transmission of culture in social interaction, 2) the self-transformative capacities of individuals, and 3) the organization of such reflective and experimentative modes of culture as “art” as well as the “fictive” forms of personhood they can give rise to.


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