Improvised Dialogues: Emergence and Creativity in Conversation
Improvised Dialogues is the first social-scientific study of Chicago improv theater. It focuses on the collaborative verbal creativity that improvising actors use to generate their unscripted dialogues. The author spent two years as a performer, and videotaped 15 different Chicago theater groups--both live performances and rehearsals--resulting in almost 50 hours of performance data. To analyze these dialogues, the book presents the theory of collaborative emergence, which focuses on how different pre-existing structures guide improvisation, and how actors use dialogue to jointly create a novel, dramatically coherent performance. Although the dialogue is not scripted, a highly structured performance emerges. Because these elements of improvisation are present in all linguistic interaction, the theory shows how these dialogues are relevant to all researchers who study verbal performance. Improvised Dialogues is thus positioned at the intersection of several fields, each of which includes a tradition of research on improvisation and conversation. In sociology, researchers such as conversation analysts have long studied how participants in interaction creatively produce an orderly dialogue. In folkloristics and linguistic anthropology, researchers have begun to emphasize the importance of creativity in performance. In psychology, contemporary creativity theory has begun to take account of interactional and social factors influencing creativity. All of these fields study collaborative, interactive craetivity; no single performer controls the group, but each performer is subtly influenced by the actions of the others.
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Frame and Context in Conversation Research
The Collaborative Emergence of Conversation
An Ethnotheory of Conversation
How to Create a Frame
How Rules Affect Improvised Dialogues
Chapter 8 Collaborative Emergence in LongForm Improvisation
The Emergent Frame as Social Fact
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Page 69 - Behind the narrator's story we read a second story, the author's story; he is the one who tells us how the narrator tells stories, and also tells us about the narrator himself. We acutely sense two levels at each moment in the story; one, the level of the narrator, a belief system filled with...
Page 123 - ... will find his cue, for the teacher too should accept the rules of the game. Then he will easily find his role as guide; for after all, the teacherdirector knows the theatre technically and artistically, and his experiences are needed in leading the group. Group Expression A healthy group relationship demands a number of individuals working interdependently to complete a given project with full individual participation and personal contribution. If one person dominates, the other members have...
Page 163 - Sometimes one has in mind that a "principal" (in the legalistic sense) is involved, that is, someone whose position is established by the words that are spoken, someone whose beliefs have been told, someone who is committed to what the words say.
Page 49 - ... organizations, relations between institutions, differential authority arrangements, social codes, norms, values, and the like. And they are very important. But their importance does not lie in an alleged determination of action nor in an alleged existence as parts of a self-operating societal system. Instead, they are important only as they enter into the process of interpretation and definition out of which joint actions are formed.
Page 72 - In the flow of group life there are innumerable points at which the participants are redefining each other's acts. Such redefinition is very common in adversary relations, it is frequent in group discussion, and it is essentially intrinsic to dealing with problems. (And I may remark here that no human group is free of problems.) Redefinition imparts a formative character to human interaction, giving rise at this...
Page 65 - I assume that the proper study of interaction is not the individual and his psychology, but rather the syntactical relations among the acts of different persons mutually present to one another.
Page 49 - It calls attention, first, to the fact that the essence of society lies in an ongoing process of action — not in a posited structure of relations. Without action, any structure of relations between people is meaningless. To be understood, a society must be seen and grasped in terms of the action that comprises it. Next, such action has to be seen and treated not by tracing the separate lines of action of the participants — whether the participants...
Page 108 - Since, then, the social aggregate has a collective mental life which is not merely the sum of the mental lives of its units, it may be contended that a society not only enjoys a collective mental life but also has a collective mind, or as some prefer to say, a collective soul.
Page 45 - Performance here is seen as a creative and emergent accomplishment . . . the deepest problem in the social disciplines |is to understand] the dynamic interplay between the social, conventional, ready-made in social life and the individual, creative, and emergent qualities of human existence" ( Bauman & Sherzer, 1989, pp.