Lynette Hunter

PAR Methodologies for emergent democratic politics in the work of Duskin Drum


Practice as Research (PAR) is not necessarily going to contribute to democratic change. However, there are ways in which practice, and research, and PAR, can be learned and materialised to generate insight into ecologies of democracy rather than (neo)liberal representative democracy.

If practice is thought of as training in the process of making form, and research as the process of making a form that is performed with a rhetorical stance that embodies emergent change, then PAR currently has potential to do politics ecologically and to inform politics with ways of thinking about and implementing ecological democratic structures.

An ecological practice of performativity can work alongside rather than in response to a political system so that reasons for going on living that are usually disempowered or ignored or simply unrecognized – alterior ways of knowing and valuing – can emerge from that alongside into political discourse. But if these ecological practices are to have a wider impact on the diverse groups that make up society they have to be performed in public. It is the engaged rhetorical stance of the research component of PAR that finds a form that can bring alongside practice into ecological public performance. This alongside PAR suggests a potential methodology for alterior practices of emergent politics to impact on the way democracy is practised.

This paper will explore the potentials and drawbacks in ecological democracy by looking at PAR in the work of the performance artist Duskin Drum which has both tested representative performance and experimented with ecological performance.

Lynette Hunter

University of California Davis