Identifier

etd-12202003-145735

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication Studies

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

The following thesis is a discussion of the radical activist Abbie Hoffman's theatrical work to revolutionize the United States. What the author does is explain the historical uniqueness of Hoffman's theatrical techniques as tools for social change. What made Abbie Hoffman such a unique character from that already bizarre and devastating time in the United States known as The Sixties was his ability to infuse pot with politics, fun with social activism and cultural change with his contemporary means of communication. He was able to excite and activate a whole generation of people who would otherwise drop out of society rather than become involved by walking a thin line between being a revolutionary and being a clown. The thesis begins by focusing on Hoffman's early guerrilla theater performances and proceeds to his larger, nationally focused demonstrations in Washington D.C. and Chicago. Each chapter extrapolates from the descriptions of the performances the theories which influenced the subsequent performance. The culmination of Abbie's work is his highly publicized trial (with seven other defendants) in Chicago for the riots that took place there the previous year. What we are made to understand is that while Abbie and most of the other radicals of the time are often brushed off as stoned freaks with nothing to offer in the way of social improvement, it is exactly their ability to volley between being taken seriously and being overlooked which allowed them to get away with saying and doing so much.

Date

2004

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Michael Bowman

Included in

Communication Commons

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