Clowning as Social Performance in Colombia: Ridicule and Resistance

Barnaby King

    Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


    Clowning as Social Performance in Colombia brings to light the emergence of new kinds of clowning in everyday life in Colombia, focusing particularly on the pervasive presence of clowns in the urban landscape of Bogotá. In doing so it brings a fresh and updated perspective on what clowning is as well as what it does in the twenty-first century. Featuring descriptions of more than 30 distinct clown groups and performers, Barnaby King provides an engaging and lively account of the performative moment in which clowning transpires, the techniques and strategies employed as well as the responses of audiences. In contrast with their North American and European counterparts, clowns in Latin America are seen every day in public settings, are popular cultural figures and commonly claim to be socially transformative. Drawing on five years of co-performative ethnography, King argues that clown artists have thrived by adapting their craft to changing social and economic conditions, in some cases by allying themselves with authority and power, and in others by generating spaces for creativity and resistance in adverse circumstances. By applying performance theory to clowning in a specific cultural context Ridicule and Resistance is the first work to propose an appropriate scholarly response to the diversity and ingenuity of clowning beyond Europe and North America.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherBloombury, London
    Number of pages296
    ISBN (Print)9781474249287
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


    • clown
    • clowning
    • performance
    • ridicule
    • resistance
    • comedy


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