Chapter 3: There’s No Center without the Margins - Revealing Compulsory Performance to Achieve Audience Empathy



This critical autoethnography explores performance of personal narrative research methodology, performance ethnography, compulsory able-bodiedness, and disability stigma over the course of an evening at a bar in a college town. Through interactions with patrons and staff, a Performance Studies doctoral student explains that humans have an innate knowledge and fear of our inevitable mortality that compels us to marginalize disabled bodies, transferring the struggle over this universal, inescapable vulnerability to certain stigmatized cultural members. She argues for storytelling performance adaptations of her narrative research on disability to allow audience members to glimpse the Utopian Performative of “hyper-embodied consciousness,” the collective embracing of our inevitable mortality that collectively pursues creating a culture that adapts and flexes around our forever changing bodies