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The dancing body’s scales Dance Ethnographies in the Era of Globalization

08/11/2019 - 09/11/2019
Date limite: 


La Société suisse d’ethnologie tiendra son congrès annuel les 7 et 8 novembre 2019 autour de la thématique : “The Global as Method: Ethnographic Scales in the 21st century.” 

Ana Rodriguez et Alice Aterianus-Owanga y organisent un panel intitulé "The dancing body’s scales. Dance Ethnographies in the Era of Globalization". 
Un appel à contributions est ouvert pour participer au panel. Les propositions sont à envoyer à alice.aterianus-owanga@unil.ch et analaura.rodriguezquinones@unil.ch avant le 30 juin
En cas de sélection, la condition de participation est d’adhérer à la SSE. 

L'appel dans le détail

The dancing body’s scales. Dance Ethnographies in the Era of Globalization


Alice Aterianus-Owanga (ISSR, University of Lausanne) Ana Rodriguez (ISSR, University of Lausanne)

While for a long time, dance anthropology has been committed to highlighting the way in which dances and cultures shape each other (Kaeppler 2000; Grau 2006), in the present, it is clear that they also carry on each other (Neveu et Skinner 2012). The “time- space compression” (Harvey 1989) resulting from globalization has led to several transformations in local fields of dance: international migration helped to spread so called “traditional” dance repertoires in new spaces where they have become a means of identity reconfigurations; several dances, such as salsa, kathakali, tango or lindy-hop, have been removed from their original territory, to be commercialized and distributed in global industries; international festivals and new tourism locations have arisen, leading to new forms of mobility as well as to the spectacularization of some dance practices that were previously rooted in religious or familial celebrations. As a consequence, dance experience often intersects with different scales (domestic, urban, national, local, regional, global) between which individuals, dance movements, ideologies or images navigate.

The globalization of dance fields has resulted in a reconfiguration of dance ethnography and in new methodological reflexions on the examination of dance. Thereby, some researchers highlight how the global perspective on “traditions” and identities that are shaped by dance increases the importance of long-term fieldwork immersion and participation in practices observed (Dankworth et David 2014). Others, such as Jonathan Skinner, use the notion of translocation to point out that the idea of clear divisions between scales of practices and experiences, between local spaces and translocal networks, is refuted by the observation of practices, which are embedded in a continuum and a flow that anthropologists should follow (Neveu Kringelbach and Skinner 2012).

Echoing these examples, our panel proposes to shed light on the methodological tools and approaches that appear in the anthropology of dance in response to the “global turn”. Our purpose is to reveal the contributions of dance ethnography to the broader anthropological discipline. Presently, multi-sited ethnography (Marcus 1995) is being reformed by various critics (Hage 2005; Falzon 2009), the couple local/global has revealed its shortcomings, and the deconstruction of the methodological nationalism led by theorists of transnationalism hasn’t yet resulted in the emergence of new theories which would allow us to think the metamorphoses of national, ethnic and transnational belongings in the complex scales of globalization. In this context, we assume that the specificities of the subject dance lead anthropologists to develop original tools, in order to understand the tension between the local involvement of the dancing body and the translocal or transnational networks in which it circulates. We believe that these original studies contribute to debates in the anthropology of globalisation and notably discussions regarding ethnographic and multi-scalar approaches How do anthropologists combine the unavoidable anchorage and sensitive involvement in local situations of practices with the understanding of translocal scales in which actors and practices circulate? Which specific methodological challenges stem from these circulations, and how do researchers respond to it? How does the rise of new digital technologies transform the regimes of circulation and experience between different scales, and how is it possible for anthropologists to address it? In this panel, we propose to gather dance and globalization anthropologists in order to discuss the scales of observation and investigation explored in the study of the dancing body. Based on case studies about dance in migration, transnational tourism of dance, international dance festivals, artistic tours or dance creations in circulation, the contributions will focus on the ethnographic methods mobilized to think the complex and interconnected scales that intersect in dance practices. We encourage contributors to build on these case studies to establish a dialogue with the theoretical and epistemological turns emerged these last years as part of the anthropology of globalization.


Dankworth Linda et David Ann. 2014. Dance Ethnography and Global Perspectives: Identity, Embodiment and Culture. Springer.

Falzon Mark-Anthony (Ed.). 2009. Multi-Sited Ethnography: Theory, Praxis and Locality in Contemporary Research. Ashgate.

Grau Andrée. 2006. Anthropologie de la Danse : Genèse et construction d’une discipline. Centre National de la Danse.

Hage Ghassan. 2005. « A not so multi-sited ethnography of a not so imagined community ». Anthropological Theory 5(4): 463-475.

Kaeppler Adrienne L. 2000. « Dance Ethnology and the Anthropology of Dance ». Dance Research Journal 32 (1): 116-125.

Marcus George E. 1995. « Ethnography in/of the World System: The Emergence of Multi- Sited Ethnography ». Annual Review of Anthropology 24: 95-117.

Neveu Kringelbach Hélène et Skinner Jonathan (Eds). 2012. Dancing Cultures: Globalization, Tourism and Identity in the Anthropology of Dance. Oxford, New York: Berghahn Books.

Contact person: Alice Aterianus-Owanga: alice.aterianus-owanga@unil.ch

Deadline proposal: 30 June 2019

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