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Uta Hagen’s ‘Respect for Acting’ as Curriculum Text and Social Class: A Multimodal (Inter)Active Critical Discourse Analysis

Research output: Working paper

Publication date13/06/2023
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Presented as a “play for reading” this paper critically analyses renowned actor and acting teacher Uta Hagen’s seminal book “Respect for Acting” (1973) using Bourdieu’s taste and social class theory in Distinction (1984) and utilising the methodological framework of Critical Discourse Analysis (Fairclough, 2010) and Multimodal (inter)action analysis (Jewitt et. al., 2016, p114). Uta Hagen’s book remains a key reading material in UK Drama Schools. The paper works on a meta level and argues with and imaginary Uta Hagen as conceived by the author as part of their experience as a reader of her book and as a practitioner of her techniques introduced in the book. The argument then extends to other readers, acting
students in drama schools. The paper proposes that the technique offered in the book as part of the curriculum in these schools is exclusive of those who have low volume of capital in Bourdieusian terms and proposes that acting lecturers and students should approach the curriculum of Respect for Acting more critically, specifically from a socio-economic perspective. Stylistically, it aims to challenge the reader mirroring the way that Respect for
Acting challenges its readers.