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Title: Ethnofiction : genre hybridity in theory and practice-based research
Author: Sjöberg, Johannes E.
ISNI:       0000 0003 5110 5948
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2009
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The thesis and the two films form a practice PhD in drama exploring ethnofiction - an experimental ethnographic filmmaking approach pioneered by visual anthropologist Jean Rouch. In the mid-1950's Rouch started to experiment with fiction and 'projective improvisation' in ethnographic films such as Jaguar (1957-1967), Moi, unnoir (1957) and La pyramide humaine (1959). Film critics would call these films 'ethnofictions'. After agreeing a story outline, the camera simply follows the subjects' improvisations of their own, and others', lived experiences. The aim is to show aspects of ethnographic research otherwise hard to represent. A key question of the doctoral research has been whether a nuanced understanding of foreign cultures can be created and mediated by combining ethnographic research methods with the processes of dramatic work. Even though Rouch made ethnofictions as part of his ethnographic research, he infused the genre with elements of surrealism and poetry, and often opposed anyone trying to establish theories about his films. Defying Rouch's view on this matter, this thesis explores ethnofiction as an ethnographic filmmaking method by drawing on the experiences from fieldwork and filmmaking among transgendered Brazilians living in São Paulo. The fieldwork resulted in a feature-length ethnofiction and an ethnographic documentary short: Transfiction focuses on identity and discrimination in the daily lives of Brazilian travestis and transsexuals. Informed by transgendered artists, prostitutes, healthworkers and political activists, Fabia Mirassos projected her life through the role of Meg, a transsexual hairdresser confronting intolerance and re-living memories of abuse. Savana 'Bibi' Meirelles plays Zilda who makes her living as one of the many transgendered sex workers in São Paulo, as she struggles to find her way out of prostitution. Drama Queens is an ethnographic documentary short and contains four scenes from the over 200 hours of rushes that were recorded during the fieldwork. The scenes are from São Paulo's annual Pride Parade and present Bibi, Fabia and Phedra who were the main informants of the research conducted at the theatre Os Satyros in central São Paulo.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Transfiction, Ethnofiction, Ethnographic Film, Applied Theatre, Transgender, Brazil