Description : Now available in paperback, this volume presents a theory of the circus as a secular ritual and introduces a method to analyze its performances as multimodal discourse. The book's fifteen chapters cover the range of circus specialties (magic, domestic and wild animal training, acrobatics, and clowning) and provide examples to show how cultural meaning is produced, extended and amplified by circus performances. Bouissac is one of the world's leading authorities on circus ethnography and semiotics and this work is grounded on research conducted over a 50 year span in Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas. It concludes with a reflection on the potentially subversive power of this discourse and its contemporary use by activists. Throughout, it endeavours to develop an analytical approach that is mindful of the epistemological traps of both positivism and postmodernist license. It brings semiotics and ethnography to bear on the realm of the circus.
Description : A Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2019 This book documents and discusses the meaning(s) of the creative process at play in the crafting and staging of circus acts. It highlights the experience of circus artists as their skills develop and mature into public performances that create aesthetic and emotional values in the modern economy of live spectacles. It scrutinizes the meaning that circus acts produce for the spectators and for the artists themselves who live this process from the inside. This is a book for those studying semiotics and wanting to see it applied to a real life milieu in accessible and passionate prose. The Meaning of the Circus is grounded on the personal experience of Professor Paul Bouissac as both a circus entrepreneur and a researcher with decades of primary material on the significance of past and contemporary circus acts. It is based on substantial accounts provided by many men and women who have agreed to share the challenges, joys, and anxieties of their life as artists. Personal and rigorous, it contributes to the hermeneutics of the circus arts by adding existential depth to the production and reception of their performances.
Description : The Semiotics of Happiness examines the rise of 'happiness' (and its various satellite terminologies) as a social and political semiotic, exploring its origins in the US and subsequent spread into the UK and across the globe. The research takes as its starting point the development of discussions about happiness in UK newspapers in which dedicated advocates began to claim that a new 'science of happiness' had been discovered and argued for social and political change on its behalf. Through an in-depth analysis of the written and visual rhetoric and subsequent activities of these influential 'claims-makers', Frawley argues that happiness became a serious political issue not because of a growing unhappiness in society nor a demand 'on the ground' for new knowledge about it, but rather because influential and dedicated 'insiders' took the issue on at a cultural moment when problems cast in emotional terms were particularly likely to make an impact. Emerging from the analysis is the observation that, while apparently positive and light-hearted, the concern with happiness implicitly affirms a 'vulnerability' model of human functioning, encourages a morality of low expectations, and in spite of the radical language used to describe it, is ultimately conservative and ideally suited to an era of 'no alternative' (to capitalism).