This dissertation presents a new tool for analysis of the way difficult experiences
or phenomena influence the process for constructing self-identity in the performance of everyday life. This concept, refraction, emerged as part of a grounded theory methods analysis of ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Itacaré, Bahia, Brazil from January to July 2014. The work here contributes to the field of performance studies as a possibility for examining how affective responses to difficult experiences contribute to a shift in perspective and subsequently shifts in the performance of self in everyday life. This research was conducted with critical and reflexive autoethnographic methods in order to hold the research accountable for the ways subject position influences the research. In this case the most salient theme that emerged from these autoethnographic methods was an unpacking of unacknowledged tourist privilege in this setting. The resulting work-in-progress
performance will offer ways for spectators to question their own assumptions
regarding tourist privilege in Brazil, and in so-called developing countries in similar
tropical climates. An additional contribution to the field of performance-based research that resulted from this dissertation is the articulation of a dynamic locus of creativity wherein rigorous established qualitative research methods complement creative practices in conjunction with a spectrum of tacit knowledge and theoretical sensitivities. This juncture becomes the theoretical space where creativity in research can be articulated in ways that are legible to both artists and researchers.