Playing Dead

Playing Dead

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As the Grim Reaper pulls a student out of class to be a a€œvictima€ of drunk driving in a program called a€œEvery 15 Minutes, a€ Montana Miller observes the ritual through a folklorista€™s lens. Playing Dead examines why hundreds of American schools and communities each year organize these mock tragedies without any national sponsorship or coordination. Often, the event is complete with a staged accident in the parking lot, a life-flight helicopter, and faux eulogies for the a€œdeada€ students read in school assemblies. Grounding her research in play theory, frame theory, and theory of folk drama, Miller investigates key aspects of this emergent tradition, paying particular attention to its unplanned elementsa€”enabled by the performancea€™s spontaneous nature and the participantsa€™ tendency to stray from the intended frame. Miller examines such variations in terms of the program as a whole, analyzing its continued popularity and weighing its success as perceived by participants. Her fieldwork reveals a surprising aspect of Every 15 Minutes that typical studies of ritual do not include: It can be fun. Playing Dead is volume two of the series Ritual, Festival, and Celebration, edited by Jack Santino.These pageants, asserts Lavenda, matter to the way communities think about themselves and the image they want to present; ... Brian SuttonSmith has referred to the a€œhidden transcriptsa€ of play (1997), and this serves as a valuable metaphor for ... people might say about them if they werena#39;t around, making their friends jealous, and simply getting out of school for a field trip and a night of hijinks at a hotel.

Title:Playing Dead
Author: Montana Miller
Publisher:University Press of Colorado - 2012-12-15

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