Tuesday, April 17, 2012

IJCAIP Advisory Board Member, Johnny Saldana receives 2012 Outstanding Book Award from the American Educational Research Association

IJCAIP Press Release, April 17, 2012

"Ethnotheatre Research from Page to Stage" by Johnny Saldana Receives AERA Award

IJCAIP, Advisory Board member Johnny Saldana has been awarded the American Educational Research Association's Qualitative Research Special Interest Group (AERA QR SIG). award for his book "Ethnotheatre: Research from Page to Stage" (Left Coast Press, 2011).

Johnny Saldana is recognized as a leader in North America in qualitative approaches related to ethnotheatre or "ethnodrama". He is a professor of theatre at Arizona State University's School of Theatre and Film and author of "Longitudinal Qualitative Research: Analyzing Change Through Time" (AltaMira press, 2003); "Ethnodrama: An Anthology of Reality Theatre" (Alta Mira Press, 2005); "The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers" (Sage Publications, 2009) and "Fundamentals of Qualitative Research" (Oxford University Press, 2011).

I was pleased to receive a copy of this book a few months back and I have found it invaluable as a resource and as a teaching text that carefully explains ethnotheatre methodology with supportive examples and accompanying photographs. This book will represent a model for others who might wish to study methods for converting research data into transformative drama for social change.

I have included below a report about the book written by Kakali Bhattacharya, Chair of the AERA QR SIG Outstanding Book Award Committee:

“. . . the committee identified Johnny Saldana’s text Ethnotheatre: Research from page to stage as the winner of this award for several reasons. While we are at the political intersection of discourses suggesting what is and is not scientific inquiry, how qualitative research measures up to such reductive standards of scientific inquiry, it is far too easy to stay locked in a binary relationship of “us versus them” where qualitative researchers are continuously trapped in trying to legitimize their work.

Saldana opens up possibilities for qualitative inquiry, with guidelines and paths should the researcher resonate with them, to create legitimate spaces of discourse within and outside of qualitative inquiry instead of operating from a place of oppression and victimhood under the current accountability and audit culture. Saldana’s work invites researchers brand new to ethnodrama and experts returning to frame and reframe performance first and foremost as an art. His steadfast commitment to plays as an art form encourages his audience to engage data as that which can be transformed into embodied experience. His exercises and suggested readings leave a pragmatic trail for his readers to follow as they explore possible connections between the production of a play and voices in data. His frank discussions about the challenges of moving from intellectualized dialogue to character involvement demand that researchers reflect deeply on their commitments to epistemological beliefs and where they locate knowledge. For Saldana, knowledge construction is the transformation of research findings into a well-written script.

Often when researchers offer suggestions, guidelines and pathways to a methodology, such moves are seen to be prescriptive, perhaps reductive and restrictive to the vast possibilities within qualitative research. However, Saldana’s work should not be read as such. It takes an acutely insightful researcher, theorist, and a practitioner to be able to highlight one’s own process of developing a methodology of data collection, data analysis, and representation while maintaining a layered multiplicity to one’s work. Saldana is a gifted performer and thus lends an expert voice to ethnodrama. Even through such lending of an expert voice, Saldana opens up multiple possibilities of ethnodrama in qualitative inquiry. This text will continue to serve both students and practitioners of qualitative research in addition to being a text that many will return to for guidance, insights, and framing and reframing of their work. For these r
easons described, the Outstanding Book Award committee is proud to announce Johnny Saldana’s text Ethnotheatre: Research from page to stage as the winner this year.”