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What Is Found There? Poetry and Emotions in Resistance and Power for Social Change Among Diverse Community Poets


What Is Found There? Poetry and Emotions in Resistance and Power for Social Change Among Diverse Community Poets

Sjollema, Sandra (2018) What Is Found There? Poetry and Emotions in Resistance and Power for Social Change Among Diverse Community Poets. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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For many who identify with marginalized social positions, participating in community art has signaled a means of resisting oppressive systems of power. In these settings, art acts as a means of challenging hegemonic ideas, building solidarity and establishing collective power. At the same time, academics have come to embrace the arts as an invigorating and alternative form of research. The arts–and, especially, poetry–have come to be viewed as a means of understanding people’s personal and emotional knowing. In addition, the arts, as well as emotions, have come to be considered as essential components to a deeper understanding of social change.

The purpose of this study was to ask about the significance of community poetry and emotions as vehicles for individual and collective resistance and power in social change efforts among diverse community poets in Montréal. Data collection included five poems written by community poets as well as interviews with the poets and community organizers. Three major themes were identified in this study: 1) Individual Acts of Poetic Resistance; 2) Community Poetry in Interaction: Individual and Collective Power; and 3) Poetry and Emotions: Social Change in Community and Beyond.

The results of the study pointed to the centrality of emotions in social life and suggested how emotions are effective in the social change endeavour. The study revealed that emotions in social change are largely uncertain and complex, especially in milieus that consist of diverse people. The study also indicated that community poetry and emotions are apt means of accessible discursive spaces and alternative practices for people living in marginalized situations, and, as such, exemplified their role in participatory democracy. Additionally, this study suggested that aesthetic features, such as literary devices, intertwined with emotion, play an essential role in art as social change.

This study underscored the need for community organizations and activists to implement activities that emphasize art and emotion, and to validate the contribution these elements can offer to community building and social change. The study’s findings also emphasized the need for scholars to research the role of the community arts in interaction with emotion and social change.

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies > Individualized Program
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Sjollema, Sandra
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Individualized Program
Date:November 2018
Thesis Supervisor(s):Yuen, Felice
ID Code:985047
Deposited By: Sandra Dennison Sjollema
Deposited On:10 Jun 2019 13:05
Last Modified:11 Jun 2019 00:00

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