The need for social theatre
An Academic Proposal presented to the Nigerian Association of Sociological and Anthropological practitioners [NASA]
The Society of Nigeria Theatre Art [SONTA]
To Endorse the Incorporation of Social Theatre as a new Sub Discipline into the Curriculum of Nigerian University Commission [NUC].
By Peter lfeanyi Egboka
CONTACT: 08108123190/ [email protected]
DATE: 15TH August 2019
The research is dedicated to undergraduate students of sociology and theatre art
My heartfelt gratitude first and foremost goes to God almighty who gave me the grace, wisdom and strength throughout the course of this work, I am exceedingly grateful to God.
My expression of appreciation to censor, Miss Flora and to my mentor MR Kinsley and DR SUILEMAN for their tremendous academic support and attention even in odd times and places during the course of this research.
x I thank my Head of Department, (Mrs.) N.P. Oli, and to all my lectures, Prof. A. U. Nnonyelu, Associate Prof. P. C Ezeah, Dr. A. U Obiajulu, Dr. DR. B.C. Uzoh, Mr. G.O Oguamanam, MR. K.K. Osayi, Mr.W. Dumbili, Mrs. Udeobasi, Mr. K.Anibogu, DR (Mrs.) B.A. Mathias and Miss Blessing Onyima for their intellectual contributions in my life, I am for ever indebted to you all and by God‘s grace I would someday return this lifetime favour by making you all proud at world level.
In a special way, I thank my beloved parent Mr. and Mrs. Egboka my siblings and my extended family members for their advice, prayers encouragement and financial support throughout this research God bless you all,
I cannot forget to appreciate my research assistants and wonderful friends especially Victoria and Adaora who were helpful at one point to another throughout the duration,
The work is an academic proposal that backgrounds’ from the chronological evolution of sociology and theater art to discover there link between both courses in modern time,
For sociology to change the ever changing human society sociology must be prone to constant change.
The proposal spurred up to improve the influence of sociological research findings in society and to tackle the adaptation struggles of modern sociologist in the competitive labour market.
The work anchored on the social change theories in the need for sociology to change as an agent of change,
To that, this work proposes the introduction of a new sub discipline titled social theater that would directly disseminate sociological findings to infuse indirect influence for change in the society.
An ancient academic anthem that states that knowledge is power is proven in the fact that no knowledge is void.
Practically, at the entrance gate of a university in South Africa the following message was posted for contemplation:
”Destroying any nation does not require the use of atomic bombs or the use of long range missiles. It only requires lowering the quality of education and allowing cheating in the examinations by the students.” Thereby produce half graduates that breeds the above
Patients die at the hands of such doctors,
Buildings collapse at the hands of such engineers.
Money is lost at the hands of such economists & accountants.
Humanity dies at the hands of such religious scholars.
Justice is lost at the hands of such judges…
Cultures and artifacts are buried in the hands of such Anthropologist,
History lost in the hands of such artist
And societies move without direction in the hand of such sociologist
At such the collapse of education is the permanent collapse of the nation.”
Therefor the need for quality Education can never be overemphasized for the priority of every great nation lies in her posterity.
And so one should learn all he could and when he/she should.
To this education have travelled a long way in African and precisely in Nigeria even before the imperial visit by our colonial masters there was an informal education that helped survived our culture.
The missionaries then introduced a formal education to help educate their new religion. The formal education had help liberate our forefathers from illiteracy and empowered us to grow in nation today.
Education itself is still growing and we must grow with her if we are to adapt.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
THE BIRTH OF SOCIOLOGY
According to Ashley Crossman 2018 the ancient quest to understand the human society has its roots in the works of philosophers like Plato and Aristotle. Sociology formally emerged in nineteenth century in response to the challenges of modernity .Sociologists responded to these changes by trying to understand what holds social groups together and also to explore possible solutions to the breakdown of social solidarity.
Finally August Comte coined the Name sociology in 1838.
Comte felt that science could be used to study the social world. Just as there are testable facts regarding gravity and other natural laws, Comte thought that scientific analyses could also discover the laws governing our social lives. It was in this context that Comte introduced the concept of positivism to sociology—a way to understand the social world based on scientific facts.
He believed that, with this new understanding, people could build a better future. He envisioned a process of social change in which sociologists played crucial roles in guiding society.
Other classical theorists of sociology from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries include Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, W.E.B. DuBois, and Harriet Martineau. As pioneers in sociology, most of the early sociological thinkers were trained in other academic disciplines, including history, philosophy, and economics. The diversity of their trainings is reflected in the topics they researched, including religion, education, economics, inequality, psychology, ethics, philosophy, and theology.
These pioneers of sociology all had a vision of using sociology to call attention to social concerns and bring about social change.
In Europe, for example, Karl Marx teamed with wealthy industrialist
Friedrich Engels to address class inequality. Writing during the Industrial Revolution, when many factory owners were lavishly wealthy and many factory workers despairingly poor, they attacked the rampant inequalities of the day and focused on the role of capitalist economic structures in perpetuating these inequalities.
In Germany, Max Weber was active in politics while in France, Emile Durkheim advocated for educational reform. In Britain, Harriet Martineau advocated for feminism and in the US, W.E.B. DuBois focused on the problem of racism.
SOCIOLOGY AS A DISCIPLINE
The growth of sociology as an academic discipline in the United States coincided with the establishment and upgrading of many universities that were including a new focus on graduate departments and curricula on “modern subjects.” In 1876, Yale University’s William Graham Sumner taught the first course identified as “sociology” in the United States. The University of Chicago established the first graduate department of sociology in the United States in 1892 and by 1910, most colleges and universities were offering sociology courses.
Thirty years later, most of these schools had established sociology departments. Sociology was first taught in high schools in 1911.
Sociology was also growing in Germany and France during this period. However, in Europe, the discipline suffered great setbacks as a result of World Wars I and II. Many sociologists were killed or fled Germany and France between 1933 and the end of World War II. After World War II, sociologists returned to Germany influenced by their studies in America. The result was that American sociologists became the world leaders in theory and research for many years.
Sociology has grown into a diverse and dynamic discipline, experiencing a proliferation of specialty areas. The American Sociological Association (ASA) was formed in 1905 with 115 members. By the end of 2004, it had grown to almost 14,000 members and more than 40 “sections” covering specific areas of interest. Many other countries also have large national sociology organizations. The International Sociological Association (ISA) boasted more than 3,300 members in 2004 from 91 different countries.
The ISA sponsored research committees covering more than 50 different areas of interest, covering topics as diverse as children, aging, families, law, emotions, sexuality, religion, mental health, peace and war, and work.
From the above chronicles it evident that the founding founders envisioned Sociology as the societal pathfinder and so the focused more in finding the social problem with less attention to means of implementing the solutions.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
The five theories of social change are as follows: 1. Evolutionary Theory 2. Cyclical Theory 3. Economic (Mandan) Theory of Social Change 4. Conflict Theory 5. Technological Theory.
These Theories of social change can be divided into two groups:
(1) Theories relating to the direction of social change:
Various types of evolutionary theories, and cyclical theory.
(2) Theories relating to causation of change:
(a) Those explaining change in terms of endogamous factors or processes; and
(b) Those emphasizing exogamous factors such as economic, cultural or historical
For the sake of this work the evolutionary theory had be adopted to guide the frame work.
The notion of evolutionary principles was extremely popular with British anthropologists and sociologists of nineteenth century. Such as Morgan (1877), Tyler (1889), Spencer (1890) and Hobhouse (1906). Although evolutionary theory in sociology is attributed to Herbert Spencer, it is clear that it was taken for granted by writers as diverse as Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and V. Gordon Childe.
The assumptions if these theorist is premised on the following.
1. That change is inevitable and natural.
2. That change is gradual and continuous.
3. That change is sequential and in certain stages.
4. That all successive stages of change are higher over preceding stage, i.e., evolution is progressive.
5. That stages of change are non-reversible.
6. That forces of change are inherent in the object.
7. That the direction of change is from simple to complex, from homogeneity to heterogeneity, from undifferentiated to the differentiated in form and function.
8. That all societies pass through same stages of development.
All thinking of early sociologists was dominated by a conception of man and society as seen progressing up definite steps of evolution leading through every greater complexity to some final stage of perfection.
Sociology has in indeed traveled to survive. Tragically in modern Nigeria the course Sociology has been underestimate even when she has the power to infuse the needed change.
This is because most Africans are religious this attribute to the strict relationship between African religion and culture, these account to the faith in religious and spiritually based prophecy rather than empirical sociological findings.
On October 11, 2014 Laju Arenyeka & Favour Anthony conducted a research to find out whether some university disciplines are becoming extinct?
They found out that philosophy was not the natural choice for some graduates in the field and most Philosophy students’ wander blindly through a lecture on Plato’s allegory of the cave, and scratch their heads wondering: ‘how on earth is this relevant to my life”
Despite the fact that Forbes list put Philosophy and Religious studies at the 4th worst college major in the world because of its fewer prospects, some students believes that there discipline could help in the job market. Because of “it’s a wide course, they can work anywhere they choose to.’’
However, with a 54% unemployment rate, very few Nigerian graduates have the luxury of choice. If graduates of disciplines in supposedly high demand are scarcely employed, how much more others?
Blazing the trail on Forbes list of worst university disciplines is the study of Anthropology and Archeology, followed closely by Film, Video and Photographic Arts, with Fine Arts in third place. Liberal Arts is fifth, Music sixth, Commercial Arts and Graphic Design is eighth on the list. History and English Language are ninth and tenth place respectively. On the other hand, in its list of best disciplines, Forbes puts Biomedical Engineering at the top, followed by Biochemistry, then Computer Science and Software Engineering.
In fifth place is Environmental Engineering, followed by Civil engineering, Geology, Management Information Systems, Applied Mathematics and Mathematics. While some argue that in line with the information above, Nigerian Universities most focus on disciplines that are in-line with the demands of the global market, others argue that all courses of study at Nigerian universities are still relevant as the demands of the Nigerian market have not yet caught up with the rest of the world.
From the above one can understand that the need for both courses can never be overemphasized if the true potentials are realized.
Practically, when the impact of overrated disciplined are compared with the underrated the facts are clear. An engineer or a doctor can only save or preserve one life at a time but a solidified Anthropology/sociologist and equipped Artist can save or preserve or change the entire culture of a society at a goal.
Many argue that nothing could be equated with life but society is leaving as well as no one can survive in isolation.
The future of sociology and Theatre Art.
According to Francis Kagolo July 2013 as years go by, the country’s economy is revolving and the ways of living are taking a new turn. Gone are the days when life was that easy.
It is the same reason that the education system and institutions are ‘shedding skins,’ to keep afloat. That calls for starting new courses to keep pace with the growing trends and turn of times.
Nowadays, there are some new courses worth trying out at various universities. For instance, Makerere University recently introduced a bachelor’s programme in petroleum geo-science and production
I propose for the marriage between the two most Underestimated course to breed the true societal pathfinder. That will not just direct the society but will also determine the society we live in.
Since Sociology a discipline in social science, is simply defined as the study of man and his changing society. In cause of these sociological quest sociologist adopt means observations, participants observations, questionnaires, interviews to obtain facts and disseminate them properly into the society to invent changes where needed.
The sole aim of sociologist is to preserve or change the society and to change the society, sociology itself must be prone to change as an agent of change.
Theatre Art is equally a humanitarian course that adds meaning to man existence. In the sense that help Art preserve human history and culture to rebirth them in modern days. Through verse means like, writing, sculpture. Drawing. Acting drama, songs etc. Yet Art lacks the vital skills to obtain the needed information about man’s changing world.
From the above definition it is simply an Observed reality that department of sociology and theatre Arts are born to fulfill destiny together.
The both disciplines earnestly and anxiously needs each other particularly the department of sociology and theatre art.
To obtain the fact needed about society Artist needs sociological skills and for sociologist to disseminate fact about the society sociologist needs Artistic features and experience. To preserve and promotes culture and humanity. Both subfields evidently needs this proposed marriage as they both focused on man’s improvement.
As a practicing sociologist I discovered the niche between/for the two underrated courses.
Sociology as agent of change need to be concurrent with the targeted ever changing society and to do that sociology itself need to change first to marge the societal dynamic pace.
Sociology need to marry Art which is the very existence of man itself to understand man better. Sociologist must exploit all Genre of Literature under Theater Art and beyond to influence the society, sociologist can’t deepen solemnly on manipulated or controlled scrutinised media agents to archive a value free influence.
The birth of social theatre as a sub field in sociology that will disseminate information through entertainment with add additional advantage of young audience with greater population of the society, modern youths are more attached to interactive enticing social entertaining TV shows rather than the formal old news media/ agency .
The class‐dominant theory argues that the media reflects and projects the view of a minority elite, which controls it. Those people who own and control the corporations that produce media comprise this elite. Advocates of this view concern themselves particularly with massive corporate mergers of media organizations, which limit competition and put big business at the reins of media—especially news media. Their concern is that when ownership is restricted, a few people then have the ability to manipulate what people can see or hear. For example, owners can easily avoid or silence stories that expose unethical corporate behavior or hold corporations responsible for their actions.
The introduction of Sociology of theatre Art doesn’t mean the abolition Sociology of mass media, the culturist theory, developed in the 1980s and 1990s, combines the other two theories and claims that people interact with media to create their own meanings out of the images and messages they receive. This theory sees audiences as playing an active rather than passive role in relation to mass media. One strand of research focuses on the audiences and how they interact with media; the other strand of research focuses on those who produce the media, particularly the news.
Limited‐effects theory argues that because people generally choose what to watch or read based on what they already believe, media exerts a negligible influence. This theory originated and was tested in the 1940s and 1950s. Studies that examined the ability of media to influence voting found that well‐informed people relied more on personal experience, prior knowledge, and their own reasoning. However, media “experts” more likely swayed those who were less informed. Critics point to two problems with this perspective. First, they claim that limited‐effects theory ignores the media’s role in framing and limiting the discussion and debate of issues. How media frames the debate and what questions members of the media ask change the outcome of the discussion and the possible conclusions people may draw. Second, this theory came into existence when the availability and dominance of media was far less widespread
The solutions is the birth of Sociology of theatre Art, The research of a sociologist does not depend upon the quality of the research findings but should be valued more upon the quantity of people influence to invent the required change. And to do that that modern sociologist most repent of their old ways and change with the changing world to gain more audience. The contemporary society perceive news media as adulterated, tragic and borings and at such rarely pay attention.
Sociologist should independently disseminate encrypted empirical facts through the means of entertainment media such movies, songs and novels with the sole aim of influencing the oblivious society for change.
Social theatre excrete positive conscious and constructive psychological influence upon the ignorant youth. Research by a neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux of Columbia University has found that violent images elicit an immediate response in the amygdala, the brain’s emotional hub, before the information being processed reaches the cognitive center.
The proposed relationship is mutual and complimentary to each other as sociology through her societal fact founding skills will proffer facts from the society for Art to disseminate properly with the sole aim of triggering social change to the oblivious populace.
For example; a sociologist who have just concluded his research on consequence of cultism and drug abuse may present his findings in a tragic story of the consequence of both cultism and drug abuse. The researcher entertaining his audience with empirical facts sourced from observations or testimony of an interviewed participants. To correct one must be value free to first identify and understand the true cultist experience not to judge victims like religion and law condemns, only then can the research explore and expose the dangers of cultism thereby warning off teenagers who are prone to such.
Stories like this may have been invoke but never have been accounted by a skilled sociologist who also possess the Art skill of writing or directing. To presents unique empirical facts from the society with the sole aim of criticising and condemning for a reconstructive change rather just making money from such stories thereby promoting it indirectly.
Social theatre is the fastest, easiest and most effective way to disseminate personal findings without much censoring in favour of the controlled news publishers agency.
Social theatre earns the researcher all audience even the untargeted unconscious of them that they are being sensitised for Good or bad. The unique psychological effect upon oblivious subjects posits better advantage of influencing greater populace entertaining them, Psychology Goes to the Movies the psychology of art is an interdisciplinary field that studies the perception, cognition and characteristics of art and its production.
Modern generation are more acquitted and attractive entertaining schemes rather than news, provide them with what they need and corrector invent what is needed even without their knowledge of what you have done.
Naturally the faculty of Art and Social Science are often close to each other because both disciplines they fated to improve each other as sociological gather more audience through Art. Art gather more facts about the society through sociology both then change the society to better one.
The proposed course sociology of theater also proffer a unique financial independence as it does incorporate an entrepreneurship into the profession. Social theater allows Fresh graduates to combine their talents in their professions thereby creating passion to embark on a research and then present his findings in form of entertainment and still make a living out of the preceding independent of any sponsors and yet still invent the needed change thereby growing our entertainment industry with true stories for change.
THE BIRTH OF THEATRE ART.
GREEK THEATRE: FROM THE 6TH CENTURY BC
The origins of Greek theatre lie in the revels of the followers of Dionysus, a god of fertility and wine. In keeping with the god’s special interests, his cult ceremonies are exciting occasions. His female devotees, in particular, dance themselves into a state of frenzy. Carrying long phallic symbols, known as
The Dionysians develop a more structured form of drama. They dance and sing, in choral form, the stories of Greek myth.
In the 6th century BC a priest of Dionysus, by the name of Thespis, introduces a new element which can validly be seen as the birth of theatre. He engages in a dialogue with the chorus. He becomes, in effect, the first actor. Actors in the west, ever since, have been proud to call themselves Thespians.
According to a Greek chronicle of the 3rd century BC, Thespis is also the first winner of a theatrical award. He takes the prize in the first competition for tragedy, held in Athens in 534 BC.
However theater Act formally bygone her academic quest in England. Theatre in education (TIE) originated in Britain in 1965. Monica Prendergast and Juliana Saxton cited TIE as “one of the two historic roots of applied theatre practice”. TIE typically includes a theatre company performing in an educational setting (i.e. a school) for youth, including interactive and performative moments. 
The idea of a high-impact child-centred performance for a specifically targeted school audience became hugely popular. Due to small audiences students can be encouraged to participate through work in-role and through debate. Student experimentation can be supported with resource materials and training or support for the students by teachers.
THEATRE ART DISCIPLINE
Theater Arts Department combines drama, dance, critical studies, and theater technology to offer students an intensive, unified undergraduate program.
Traditionally, it is believed that art imitates life. The painter represents what he or she sees by producing a scene on a canvas. The sculptor does the same with bronze or stone. A photographer or film maker does it even more directly. A writer describes life in his or her books. This simple concept is known as mimesis.
Some have questioned the one-way nature of mimesis by arguing that art also changes the way we view the world, and in fact, life sometimes imitates art rather than the other way around. The person who first articulated this belief effectively was Oscar Wilde. Speaking about the foggy conditions in London in the late 19th century, he wrote that the way we perceive them changed because of art. Referring to the “wonderful brown fogs that come creeping down our streets, blurring the gas lamps and turning houses into shadows” he argued that “poets and painters have taught [people] the loveliness of such effects”. According to Wilde, “They did not exist till Art had invented them.”
During the First World War, for example, movie cameras were used for the first time to record trench warfare – when the film was shown in cinemas in Britain, audiences ran out screaming. This led to the government censoring further such use of such a powerful medium. And in government censorship, and use of art as propaganda, we see how seriously governments take the effect of art.
THE CONCEPT OF SOCIOLOGY OF THEATRE ART.
For Adorno 2013, the romantic notion of art as subjective expression emerged out of the enlightenment dualism of science and art. Within that dualism, science had come to be privileged as the locus of ‘truth’, and art – if it were part of any project of liberation – came to be conceived as a tool of moral persuasion.
Adorno’s compass, music provided (or could provide) a template or paradigmatic structure for knowledge formulation. Music was thus a resource for knowing. If handled properly, this conception can be used to formulate questions lodged at the heart of music sociology’s paradigm, ‘after Adorno’. These questions deal with music’s link to cognition and how music may ‘lead’ or structure knowledge formation.
The facts can best be pursued empirically I wish to state the fact that both are indispensably close to each other and should be permanently married.
ENTREPRENEUR AND PROFESSIONAL ADVANTAGE OF THE PROPOSED SOCIAL THEATRE.
Currently Nigerian greatest export is the entertainment industry with the music industry at its peak and Nollywood teething to its best with an academic prospect the industry will produce more sociologist and artist entrepreneurs that would change Nigerian perception to the world.
I came up with this idea two years after graduation there was no job, I observed that most of the best student in my class has not secured a decent job, this is not just because of the high rate of unemployment but essential because of the low demand and value for the course, most people even developed a very low self-esteem in camp amidst other graduates from professional disciplines.
Rarely, do most sociologist graduate practice sociology for living. We all should be considering the means of livelihood for the graduates we produce annually.
For new sociologist to Adapt in the highly competitive market calls for the use all advantages. Evidence proves that most people need piratical solution implemented than to proffer mere solutions. Sociologist should be able to exploit the gap between the research and dissemination of the findings to make a living.
Sociologists does not need to be dependent on employers to make a living but can actually create employment for people in other field of sociology when dully trained in sociology of theater, this is no assumption but the purely premised on observation. Take my experience for a case study.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
During my final year research on the cultism, in cause of the research I administered questions and used interview for data collection. During the interview one of the research participants who had been an active participant observer of cultism went exclusive to share his personal experience, his pathetic confession testified in details the uncounted procedures of cultist operation. This does just not revealed the consequence of cultism but the possible means of controlling. But how can this medicinal research be administered to the society when the most of the media are controlled by the cause of the problem. It is save to independently warn oblivious people off through constructive movies, poem, books and other art means.
If the researcher procure the permission of the his participants with such story he can easily use any genre art process he or she chose to disseminate his finding in a constructive manner independent of any controlled media agent. That way the sociologist can create employment for others while making a living for himself and at the same time changing the world for good.
It is easier to get a sponsor willing to invest in solution than the research process itself, because investors are more likely to recoup the money unaware of his investment morale duty to the society,
Throughout history, it has always been the case that art has the power to change society, especially when new media are used to express an idea. This strategy is already evident in the American Hollywood movies projecting same sex in all their major selling movies across the globe, it may have been misused to sensitize the public on the justification of same sex. African teenagers are now ignorantly getting conversant or familiar with such disputed act is only a matter of time before it become a norms.
Similarly Chimammada Adichie in her TED presentation speech warned against the dangers of single story as it has the power to instil people’s perception about others.
Social theatre can be double edged, it could be used positively or negatively it’s all depends on the user. I can’t not forget to retreat on/upon its obvious excusive expensive disadvantage and yet the more modernly effective.
Social theatre was named so with social first for it is after the initial sociological research to obtain the fact then comes Art to disseminate more effectively to invent change in remedy or preservation and promotion of the sociological findings rather than recommending for no implementation.
Both are indispensably close to each other and should be permanently married.
I Ifeanyi Peter Egboka proffer these observation to the Society Nigerian Association of Sociological and Anthropological practitioners [NASA] And society of Nigeria Theatre Art [SONTA] To endorse the incorporation of Social Theatre as a sub discipline into the curriculum of Nigerian University Commission [NUC] for all national undergraduates of theatre art and sociology to champion the proposed new course in Africa for academic and societal developments. Where students don’t just learn how to obtain information but also to disseminate through theater Art and gain more Audience.
This many soon be invoked into the international body of American Anthropology Associations and the American Sociological Associations. .
To prostrate the connection between the two disciplines I present this piece of poetic work of ART titled natural wedding.
Art is adam science is eve
Art is nature science is nurture
Art is an end to life
Science is the means to life
Art is supernatural science in scientific
Science is hope Art is redemption
Art is soul science is spirit body
Science is socializing art is Acting
Science is research Art is report.
Art is talent science is Education
Science is sociology
Art is theatre.
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Wikipedia: theatre in education
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COVER STORY Reel to Real:
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Oscar Wilde 1980s