Electoral Guerrilla Theatre: Radical Ridicule and Social Movements

2nd Edition

L.M. Bogad

Published March 17, 2016
Reference - 270 Pages
ISBN 9781138184176 - CAT# Y220681

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Praise for the First Edition:

'A major contribution to performance studies. If cynicism and political quietism have quelled your impulse to rage against this sorry state of affairs, Bogad demonstrates, with wit and verve, that it is possible to expose the sham and, through a variety of performative tactics, make a meaningful contribution to democracy.' Modern Drama

'A compelling and urgent read. Bogad’s passion for the topic reminds the reader of the exhilaration of live performance and the importance of engagement in democratic life.' Theatre Journal

'Delightfully written and wonderfully provocative ... Valuable reading for any scholar of social movements.' Mobilization

'As a guide to both theory and action, it is insightful, entertaining and indispensable.' Andrew Boyd, Wrangler-in-Chief, Beautiful Trouble

'Beautifully contextualized within social movement theory, this book enlivens the debate about performative interventions into power.'Jan Cohen-Cruz, Editor, Public, A Journal of Imagining America

'Electoral Guerrilla Theatre deals a refreshing wild card in the repertoire of resistance.' Baz Kershaw, Emeritus Professor, University of Warwick, and author of The Radical In Performance.


In liberal democracies across the globe, where the right to vote is framed as both civil right and civic duty, disillusioned creative activists run for public office on satiric, ironic and iconoclastic platforms. With little intention of "winning" in the conventional sense, they use drag, camp and stand-up comedy to undermine the legitimacy of their opponents and sometimes the electoral system itself.

This revised and updated edition of Electoral Guerrilla Theatre explores the phenomenon of the satirical election campaign, and questions the purpose of such public political performances. Drawing on extensive archival and ethnographic research, this is an entertaining and illuminating read that will be invaluable to students and scholars working across a variety of disciplines, including performance studies, the social sciences, cultural studies and politics. New case studies for this edition include:

  • Reverend Billy’s run for Mayor of New York City in 2009;
  • Stephen Colbert’s run for President in 2012;
  • Candidates including Superbarrio, the Best Party, Antanas Mockus, and Einstein the Dog.


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