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Overturning Mammon: The Living Theatre & Symbolic Capital

Wood, Peter (2016) Overturning Mammon: The Living Theatre & Symbolic Capital. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Overturning Mammon: The Living Theatre and Symbolic Capital focuses on the first thirteen years of the Living Theatre, founded by Judith Malina and Julian Beck. Pierre Bourdieu’s theories of cultural production provide the theoretical tools to approach the company as a cultural producer and not only as theatre artists. The Living Theatre has produced largely unpopular avant-garde and political theatre for seventy years. I argue that the company’s early years demonstrate a growing reserve of symbolic capital that helps explain the company’s longevity. Furthermore, the manner in which certain events in the company’s history have been mythologized, by company members, critics, and scholars, has led to some historically inaccurate accounts. In particular, accounts of the closing of the company’s production of The Brig in 1963 and the subsequent trial of Beck and Malina in 1964 have often been influenced by an acceptance of company member’s anecdotal, “tall tales” approach to history rather than historical evidence and archival documents. This project redresses this lack of historical inquiry using a variety of primary and archival sources to argue that the material and historical exigencies of the Living Theatre offer theatre scholars an example of how symbolic capital can overturn economic “reality.”


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Wood, Peterpeterwood@pitt.eduPEW160000-0002-9745-2980
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairMcConachie, Brucebamcco@pitt.eduBAMCCO
Committee CoChairGranshaw, Michellemkg31@pitt.eduMKG31
Committee MemberJackson-Schebetta, Lisalisajsch@pitt.eduLISAJSCH
Committee MemberKarsten, Peterpjk2@pitt.eduPJK2
Date: 15 June 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 3 March 2016
Approval Date: 15 June 2016
Submission Date: 8 March 2016
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 266
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Theater Arts
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: theatre, theater, drama, living theatre
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2016 22:17
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2021 05:15


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