Accepted paper:

Dancing through the dark: embodied ethnography and anthropological knowledge construction

Authors:

Georgiana Gore (University of Clermont Auvergne)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper I explore how the anthropological study of dance has raised the issue of embodied ethnography in a particularly acute way as it has been traditionally accepted that participation in dancing is both a desirable and inevitable foundation for an understanding of situated dance practice.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper I suggest that the anthropological study of dance has raised the issue of embodied ethnography in a particularly acute way as it has been traditionally accepted that participation in dancing is both a desirable and inevitable foundation for an understanding of situated dance practice. Whether in the research of Eastern and Northern European ethnochoreologists studying the dance practices of their rural counterparts (see for example Bakka and Felföldi) or the more recent phenomenologically oriented North American research of Farnell, Ness and Sklar, all parties consider performance of movement as quintessential to the research process. In the case of the former, analyses have focussed, for example, on the structural features of the dancing with the aim of classification of dance genres and their comparison, both historical and geographic ; or they have aimed to understand the cognitive dimensions of choreographic production of traditional male solo dancing from a fixed repertoire (Martin 2004). In the case of the latter, subjective experience of moving or of participation in a dance event performed by others has been the focus of research and has raised the question of embodied ethnographic interviewing and writing (Ness 2012 ; Skinner 2010). While I share the stance that implicated movement practice is essential to ethnographic understanding (whether of dance or other activities), I argue that distanciation and reflective reformulation are necessary to the construction of anthropological knowledge, even if I also think that Vic Turner's ethnodramatics may be effective in certain contexts.

panel P134
Doing ethnography through the body