Performing Proximity—"Learning To Fly"

  • Felicia Herrschaft Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität; Frankfurt
Keywords: performative social science, artworld/socialworld, performativity, biographical research


The following paper is about artists doing experimental and performative art who expect the spectators to become participants in the process of artwork production. The artwork is thus produced through a process of participation. As a researcher, I was similarly expected to participate in the artwork process. As I observed, the artists worked at having their agency in the artwork process recognized by the participating spectators. At the same time, the artists create a certain proximity to the spectators-participants through performing art, which I call "performing proximity." By involving the participants in their art-in-process, they make use of their agency to redefine the artworld and enlarge it into other social worlds. I also discuss how artists' ability to enact redefined social worlds can be compared to agency in performative social science and in biographical research. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0802629


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Author Biography

Felicia Herrschaft, Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität; Frankfurt
Felicia HERRSCHAFT studied Philosophy, Cultural Anthropology, Psychoanalysis and Sociology at J.W. Goethe-University, Frankfurt/M. Her main fields of interest are biographical analysis, performative social science, critical theory, theory of the public, feminist philosophy and sociology of art and music. In 2005 she established a webproject ( with artists. Her dissertation is on experimental public spheres and conceptual art, based on her radio programs with artists on her public radio show in Frankfurt (redaktion universal at Radio X).
How to Cite
Herrschaft, F. (2008). Performing Proximity—"Learning To Fly". Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 9(2).