Theater of State: A Dramaturgy of the United Nations


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Theater of State is an innovative study of performance in international relations. It asks why states and their representatives come to the United Nations to perform for a global Audience, and how those Audiences in turn may intervene in the spectacle of global politics.

A study of the lived experience of spectacular politics on the world stage, Theater of State looks at key spaces in which global politics play out in debating forums of the UN, the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and peacekeeping operations in Africa and the Middle East, as well as at a variety of related media Productions (plays, concerts, television programs, and so on). It argues for recognizing that culture and politics form a unified field organized by the theatricality of its actors and the engaged spectatorship of its Audiences. It provides a theory of global political spectatorship: of how the world watches itself in institutions and beyond, and of what citizens and diplomats do by watching.

The author draws on theories of theater, performance, and politics to offer new ways of approaching issues of war, cosmopolitanism, international justice, governance, and activism. Situated at the nexus of two disciplines, performance studies and political science, this volume encourages conversations between the two that each might offer lessons to the other.

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Northwestern University Press
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