Dissertation Abstracts

“EUropean Dance: the Emergence and Transformation of a Contemporary Dance Art World (1989 - 2013)

Author: Ertem , Gurur , ertemg01@newschool.edu
Department: Sociology
University: The New School for Social Research , USA
Supervisor: Prof. Jeffrey Goldfarb
Year of completion: 2016
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: artistic and political legitim , European cultural networks and , Cultural Policies of the EU , sociology of contemporary danc
Areas of Research: Arts


This dissertation examines the emergence and transformation of a contemporary dance art world as a distinct field of cultural production at a transnational level. I argue that a contemporary dance art world came to being organized around the recasting of dance as a field of knowledge production. I demonstrate how the different actors in the field have provided an intellectualizing discourse to upgrade the status of dance and establish it as “serious” art. I contend that aesthetic and discursive transformations within the artistic realm became successful, that is, able to survive and get recognized, due to the confluence of wider political and organizational factors. The transnational networking movement that began in the independent performing arts field in the late 1970s and 1980s were given an additional boost by the “cultural turn” of the European integration process in the aftermath of the larger political transformations since the end of the Cold War in 1989. With the Maastricht Treaty (1992) the European Union acquired limited competence in the cultural realm and developed a cultural policy that prioritized transnational cooperation and mobility. To this end, it implemented a series of culture programs that promoted networking activities. I analyze the impact of EU programs and contemporary dance networks for the dissemination of the aesthetics and production models of dance throughout Europe. In other words, I investigate the process through which contemporary dance made in Europe became European contemporary dance. Building on my professional practice in the field as a dancer as well as the artistic programmer of an international dance festival, I employ a mixed-methods qualitative approach in my inquiry.

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