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Performance, Theatre, and Society in Contemporary Nicaragua: Spectacles of Gender, S ...

Chapter 1:  Introduction
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Performance, Theatre, and Society in Contemporary Nicaragua:

Chapter 1

Introduction

The image exists in the domain of the social. Looking, apart from being a subjective activity, is an interaction, a mediation between the individual and the collective, and a form of socialization. (Bodenhorst 2005, 16)

The idea for this book materialized during one of my routine trips to Nicaragua, the country where as a young teenager I lived through the electrifying and eventful early years of the Sandinista revolution. Inspired by this episode of social transformation in Nicaragua, I have focused my academic and artistic inquiries on Nepal and Nicaragua, exploring nationalism, collective identity, and social violence through the lenses of performance studies and ethnography. For the last ten years I have closely and critically followed the political, social, and cultural developments in Nicaragua—firsthand, through visual media, and through discussions with wide-ranging contacts on the ground. In 2007, while researching the social and physical effects of pesticide contamination among former banana plantation workers, I was drawn to the social and political power dynamics manifest as public performance in contemporary Nicaragua.