I Lisbon Summer School for the Study of Culture

 June 27-  02 July 02

Performaticity: Urban Performances and the Performative City

The first Lisbon Summer School for the Study of Culture results from a partnership between the Lisbon Consortium (UCP – Catholic University of Portugal, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, CNC – National Culture Centre, Culturgest, Portuguese Film Museum, National Theatre Museum and the City of Lisbon) and the ESSCS (Universities of Copenhagen, Giessen, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Lijubliana, Oslo). As a powerful symbol of complex societies and as a place where culture’s creative energies find one of its most important outlets, the city is not only one of the key topics for the study of culture, but as well one where the synergies between the interpretative pull of the Humanities and the culture economy’s measured social impact can be most effectively articulated. Then again, the city is an important surface for modernity’s critical self-awareness, not only as a representational symbol but also as a collective subject of social action attracting creative and intellectual actors. Performaticity aims to foster a discussion on the performance of the city, the urban space as a locus of the performance arts, the city as performative cluster, as well as on performance as a useful tool for the study of culture.

Although performance metaphors have been widely used to address urban culture, for instance by referring to the city as a theatre of social action, a spectacular catastrophe, in Le Courbusier’s words, where the dramatic setting of human life finds one of its most privileged stages, the theatrical/ performative productivity of such concepts goes way beyond the metaphorical. Indeed, the city is not only the setting, but also ‘the front’ (Goffmann) for individual fixed performances, that is, it fosters certain behaviours and practices that are socially productive in that they are repeated, i.e., ‘twice-behaved’ (Schechner), and which also enable transformations of the self. On the macro level, the city then is not only theatrical, bringing about performative practices that impact identity constructions, but it also supports theatre and performance as institutional practices. The city then is a primordial place for the production of art. It is both performative and sponsors performance art, or said otherwise, it fosters art and is art, it creates theatre and is theatre.

The I Lisbon Summer School for the Study of Culture takes place in the cultural
institutions which are part of the Lisbon Consortium and takes Lisbon as a spectacular setting for theoretically and practice oriented reflections on the city’s multiple performative dimensions.


  • Marvin Carlson
  • António Pinto Ribeiro
  • Luísa Leal de Faria
  • Frederik Tygstrup
  • Octavian Saiu
  • Eugénia Vasques & Rafael Alvarez (Performer)
  • Edward Soja
  • Rossana Bonadei
  • André Lepecki
  • Antónia Gaeta
  • Marc Augé
  • Ansgar Nünning
  • Christoph Lindner
  • Nina Berman.