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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19295

Title: Undoing Wit: A Critical Exploration of Performance and Medical Education in the Knowledge Economy
Authors: Rossiter, Katherine
Advisor: Robertson, Ann
Department: Dalla Lana School of Public Health
Keywords: medical education
knowledge economy
Issue Date: 3-Mar-2010
Abstract: Over the past decade, there has been a turn in applied health research towards the use of performance as a tool for knowledge translation. The turn to performance in applied health sciences has emerged as researchers have struggled to find new and engaging ways to communicate complex research findings regarding the human condition. However, the turn to performance has occurred within the political landscape of the knowledge economy, and thus conforms to contemporary practices of knowledge production and evaluation. Recent studies about health-based performances exhibit two hallmarks of economized modes of knowledge production. First, these studies focus their attention on the transmission of knowledge to health care professionals through an exposure to performance. Knowledgeable, and thus more useful or efficient, health care providers are the end-product of this transaction. Second, many of these productions are created in the context of application, and thus are driven by an accountability and goals-oriented approach to knowledge acquisition. This thesis argues that economized and rationalized modes of knowledge production do great harm to performance’s pedagogical and ethical potential. By utilizing scientific evaluative methodologies to monitor performance’s ‘success’ as an evaluable, predictable and ends-oriented practice obscures performance’s libratory value, and thus misses performance’s potentially most potent and critical contributions. To mount this argument, I present a case study of Margaret Edson’s play Wit, which has been used widely in medical education. Drawing from the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, I critically explore the impact of the knowledge economy on arts-based pedagogical models within health research and education. Further, I seek to redress potential harms inflicted by the knowledge economy by developing the notion of ethical “response-ability.” Through this concept I argue that performance challenges normative conceptions of reason, rationality and scientific evaluation, making the use of theatre in contemporary educational settings at once troublesome and vital.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19295
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Dalla Lana School of Public Health - Doctoral theses

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