Moving into step: The embodiment of social structures of action

The abstract for a forthcoming article by myself and Dirk vom Lehn, soon to be liberated from the stalled pandemic year R&R cycle. Draft available if you’re willing to give feedback!


While dance has often featured in sociological theory, there are relatively few empirical studies that explore the social practices through which people learn to dance together. This paper takes as its point of departure the way that partner dance is often featured as a metaphor to illustrate theories about social order and interaction. We examine a corpus of video data gathered as part of a day-long workshop and explore how novice dancers learn to perform some of the basic steps of a social dance in time with their partner and with the rhythmical environment. The analysis shows how dancers use rhythm, bodies, language and other resources to organize their social interactions and shows how ethnomethodology and conversation analysis provide a critical standpoint for examining sociological theories about the relationship between the body and the social.  

Keywords: ethnomethodology, conversation analysis, multimodality, dance, culture, 

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