Accepted Paper:

Scottish country dancing as a moving reason for mobility: at home, in the diaspora and beyond  


Joy Hendry (Oxford Brookes University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper addresses a bodily practice that inspires and explains a drive for mobility. It will also inquire into the importance of visiting the home of the practice - Scotland - and the symbolic value of that home culture for dancers in the Scottish diaspora and other parts of the world.

Paper long abstract:

Inspired by the conference theme of movement and the sub-theme of embodied mobilities, I propose a paper that examines a specific and highly stylized form of movement as a rationale for travel (mobility). Movement lies both in the activity that inspires the direction and the travel that ensues, both carrying a shared heritage essential to the process because the practice cannot properly be practiced alone. Scottish country dancing undoubtedly started in Scotland, but it is now enthusiastically enjoyed in lands around the world, including Canada, and it may be transmitted with more rigour abroad than in the home country. Scotland retains an almost magical draw, however, and to participate in annual summer gatherings there gives visiting dancers a kudos not unlike that gained by a returning pilgrim. To be Scottish is of course not a necessary qualification to dance anywhere, but people who sport a Scottish accent may be accorded a kind of reverent deference by others, even in locations as near as middle England. The paper will be based on a lifetime of participant observation in England, Scotland, New Zealand and Japan, and if accepted, will include illustration and the outcome of interviews with current dancers and musicians in central Scotland.

Panel MB-AMS04
"Moveo ergo sum": towards an anthropology of embodied mobilities [IUAES-Tourism, EASA AnthroMob]