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Political Voice as Embodied Performance: young women, politics and engagement.

Weston, Sarah Elizabeth (2018) Political Voice as Embodied Performance: young women, politics and engagement. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Weston_SE_Communication_PhD_2018.pdf - Final eThesis - complete (pdf)
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In this thesis I argue that a focus on the embodied voice can be used as a tool of political intervention. Specifically focusing on how young women engage politically, I explore to what extent voice training can help young women notice the relationship between physiological tensions in their voice and repressive social and political structures. Furthermore, I argue that voice training can support young women in creating political performances that resist these repressions. I identify that in both practices that engage young women in the political and in much applied theatre work the embodied voice is largely unconsidered. Instead these fields focus on voice in its metaphoric sense. I demonstrate the term ‘political voice’ must also consider the way the voice can be repressed or liberated physiologically. This is a theorisation of political voice drawing together the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu with the practices of voice technique. I designed and delivered a series of workshops with young women combining technique, drama exercises and political discussion, from which I draw several conclusions relevant to how we practice voice with young women. Firstly, voice training can be used to help young women understand the concept of habitus. This is important as I argue this is a process of political ‘noticing’, where young women can see that any perceived deficiencies in their voices are not the result of personal failure, but because of the ways in which the social has structured their voice. Secondly, voice training can help young people articulate these repressions and furthermore use the voice to vocalise against these repressions. This was clear in how aspects of the tensionless voice that my participants discovered through training manifested in how they represented political engagement in their devised performances. Accordingly, I argue that voice training is an act of political intervention.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Voice, political communication, engagement, habitus, Linklater, applied theatre.
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Media and Communication (Leeds)
Depositing User: Dr Sarah E Weston
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2018 11:57
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2018 11:57
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21546

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