Performative Social Science

Researchers in the Centre for Qualitative Research are pursuing novel and innovative methodologies that draw upon multiple influences and epistemologies from philosophy, the arts and the humanities. One of these methods is Performative Social Science, lead by Dr Kip Jones.

“Performative,” in the widest sense of the word, has become a “working title” for the efforts of social science researchers who are exploring the use of tools from the arts in research itself and/or using them to enhance, or move beyond, PowerPoint conference presentations or traditional journal submissions in their dissemination efforts. Those engaging in this new “performative social science” are often shifting existing boundaries or transforming them through relational processes.

Dr. Kip Jones, Reader in Qualitative Research, has recently been given a cross-schools appointment by the School of Health and Social Care and the Media School.  Jones is Leader of BU’s cross-schools Performative Social Science Group, supervises PhD students working performatively and organises seminars and Masterclasses in Performative Social Science. He believes that ‘when we move to the performative, as researchers, we cede “control” of interpretation of our work to our audience. This is the singularly most important shift in social science practice that Performative Social Science makes. The researcher becomes a gatherer, a facilitator, a curator, a Wizard of Oz. Text becomes only one tool within a toolbox of many instruments’.

Further Reading:

Jones, K. (2013) Connecting Research with Communities through Performative Social Science The Qualitative Report, Vol. 17, Review Essay 18, 1-8.

Jones, K. (Special Issue Editor) with M. Gergen, J. J. Guiney Yallop, I, Lopez de Vallejo, B. Roberts & P. (Co-Editors) (2008) Forum: Qualitative Social Research Special Issue on Performative Social Science (42 articles) 9:2 (May 2008).

Gergen, M., Jones K. (2008) Editorial: “A Conversation about Performative Social Science”. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 9(2), Art. 43.

Jones, K. (2006) “A Biographic Researcher in Pursuit of an Aesthetic: The use of arts-based (re)presentations in “performative” dissemination of life stories”.  Qualitative Sociology Review, April 06.  External Link