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Alkazi Theatre Archives

A Bibliographic Listing From The Archive

Brahma Prakash’s Cultural Labour: Conceptualizing ‘Folk Performance’ in India

Writings on theatre and performance not only theorize the field but also document the ephemeral form contextualizing the practice within a given socio-political and cultural context. Through this series, the Alkazi Theatre Archive will offer a listing of books on the field of theatre, performance, aesthetics and culture from varied languages and discourses. The readings will allow readers to reference theatre in an expanded field, playing with the idea of an inventory of artistic strategies in progress within a public space.

Book: Cultural Labour: Conceptualizing the ‘Folk Performance’ in India
Author: Brahma Prakash
Publisher : Oxford University Press, New Delhi
Year: 2019
Cover Illustration: Sudheesh Kottembram

Departing from the strictly categorized ‘folk’ defined during the theatre of the roots movement of the seventies, the book, authored by Brahma Prakash, declassifies folk into a site of political practices and alterations. ‘Cultural Labour’ analyses the relationship between labour and culture and examines the engendering of meanings and behaviors in communities through rituals, theatre and enactment. Demystifying the concept of folk within the understanding of labour, Prakash undertakes the study of Bhuiyan Puja, Bidesia, Dugola and the performances of Jana Natya Mandali and Gaddar using the methodologies of historiography, performativity, viscerality, landscape, materiality and choreopolitics.

Prakash writes, “Cultural Labour is a creative economy placed in a hegemonic local context. Like immaterial labour, which maintains its global network, cultural labour maintains its local networks”(Page 3).

The author is Assistant Professor in Theatre and Performance Studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.

Cultural Labour