Psychogenic dimensions of drama in arts-based education
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
5:20 PM, Tuesday 29 Aug 2017 (30 minutes)
Convention Center - 2103
The discovery of drama as a fundamental category for the formulation of psychological questions is a key moment in the constitution of a concrete human psychology (Vygotsky, 1989). Contrary to the received view of psychological facts as something fundamentally internal and individual, concrete human psychology accounts for psychological facts in terms of humanity-specific social relations that make everyday life. Building from Politzer (1929/1994), Vygotsky finds in drama that psychological principle traversing the internal and the external, the individual and the social, the biological and the cultural. Thus, “a drama truly full of internal struggle is impossible in organic systems: the dynamic of the personality is drama” (p. 67). It is through formal and everyday (social) drama—which involve perezhivanija (Smagorinsky, 2011)—that individuals develop, as manifested intellectually and affectively in their activities. However, the significance of drama for our psychological understanding of human activity and for developing our human potential for reflection and change has only begun to be explored (e.g., Roth & Jornet, 2017; Veresov, 2010). In this study, we investigate the psychogenic (i.e., psyche-generating) dimensions of drama in an arts-based elementary school, in which everyday drama not only emerges spontaneously but also is a formal aspect of the teaching-learning praxis. Data are collected throughout participant ethnography in both art-based school tasks and reflective sessions co-organized with the teachers and targeting organizational change. Our analyses identify generative (intellectual, affective, and pragmatic) dynamics of drama emerging at the collective level that subsequently manifest as aspects of individual behavior.