Troubling Violence: A Performance Projectfollows the collaboration between performance studies professor M. Heather Carver and ethnographic folklorist Elaine J. Lawless. The book traces the creative development of a performance troupe in which women take the stage to narrate true, harrowing experiences of domestic violence and then invite audience members to discuss the tales. Similar to the performances, the book presents real-life narratives as a means of heightening social awareness and dialogue about intimate partner violence.
"Troubling violence" refers not only to the cultures in our society that are "troubling," but also to the authors' intent to "trouble" perceptions that enforce social, cultural, legal, and religious attitudes that perpetuate abuse against women. Performance, this book argues, enhances ethnographic research and writing by allowing ethnographers to approach both their field studies and their ethnographic writing as performance. The book also demonstrates how ethnography enhances the study of performance. The authors discuss the development of the Troubling Violence Performance Project in conjunction with their own "performances" within the academy.