Dancing in the Dark: Rationalism and the Neglect of Social Dance

  • Andrew H. Ward


This essay is concerned with dance as an activity of everyday life and, more specifically, with how dance has been represented within particular kinds of sociological literature. The paper is premised upon three related and, I think, uncontentious assumptions. These are that dance is generally a neglected topic for analysis; that it is inherently social; and that, as a non-verbal form of communication, dance is categorised as being non-rational. (This latter assumption has particular consequences for the study of dance that — as we shall see — are highly significant.)


Popular Culture Sociological Literature Youth Culture Dance Activity Black Experience 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. T. Adorno, Philosophy of Modern Music, trans. A. Mitchell and W. Bloomster, (London: Sheed and Ward, 1949).Google Scholar
  2. J. Blacking, ‘Movement, Dance, Music and the Venda Girls’ Initiation Cycle’ in P. Spencer (ed.), Society and the Dance, (Cambridge University Press, 1975).Google Scholar
  3. M. Brake, Comparative Youth Cultures, (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1985).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. P. Brinson, ‘Epilogue: Anthropology and the Study of Dance’ in P. Spencer (ed.), Society and the Dance, (Cambridge University Press, 1985).Google Scholar
  5. I. Chambers, Urban Rhythms — Pop Music and Popular Culture, (London: Macmillan, 1985).Google Scholar
  6. I. Chambers, Popular Culture, (London: Methuen, 1986).Google Scholar
  7. J. Clarke and C. Critcher, The Devil Makes Work, (London: Macmillan, 1975).Google Scholar
  8. R. Copeland and M. Cohen (eds), What is Dance?, (Oxford University Press, 1983).Google Scholar
  9. S. Cosgrove, ‘Forbidden Fruits’, New Statesman and Society, 2 September 1988.Google Scholar
  10. L. Davidoff, The Best Circles, (London: Century Hutchinson, 1986).Google Scholar
  11. N. Dennis, F. Henriques and C. Slaughter, Coal is our Life, (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1956).Google Scholar
  12. DES, Young People in the 80s, (London: HMSO, 1983).Google Scholar
  13. R. Dyer, ‘In Defence of Disco’, Gay Left, 8, (1978).Google Scholar
  14. P. Everett, You’ll Never Be 16 Again, (London: BBC Publications, 1986).Google Scholar
  15. S. Frith, Sound Effects, (London, Constable, 1983).Google Scholar
  16. S. Frith, Music For Pleasure, (Cambridge: Polity, 1988).Google Scholar
  17. F. Fyrel, The Insecure Offenders, (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1963).Google Scholar
  18. P. Gilroy, There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack, (London: Hutchinson, 1987).Google Scholar
  19. S. Hager, Hip Hop, (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1985).Google Scholar
  20. G. Heald and R. Wybrow, The Gallup Survey of Britain, (London: Croom Helm, 1986).Google Scholar
  21. B. Heap, The Complete Degree Course Offers, (London: Trotman, 1989).Google Scholar
  22. D. Hebdige, Subculture: The Meaning of Style, (London: Methuen, 1979).Google Scholar
  23. D. Hebdige, Hiding in the Light, (London: Comedia/Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1988).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. HMSO, Social Trends No. 19, (London, 1989).Google Scholar
  25. S. Jones, Black Culture, White Youth, (London: Macmillan, 1988).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. M. Kerr, The People of Ship Street, (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1958).Google Scholar
  27. J. Martin, America Dancing, (New York: Dance Horizons, 1967).Google Scholar
  28. A. McRobbie, ‘Dance and Social Fantasy’ in A. McRobbie and M. Nava (eds), Gender and Generation, (London: Macmillan, 1984).Google Scholar
  29. J. Middleton, ‘The Dance Among the Lugbara of Uganda’ in P. Spencer (ed.), Society and the Dance, (Cambridge University Press, 1985).Google Scholar
  30. W. Moore, ‘Functionalism’ in T. Bottomore and R. Nisbet (eds), A History of Sociological Analysis, (London: Heinemann, 1978).Google Scholar
  31. G. Mungham, ‘Youth in Pursuit of Itself’ in G. Mungham and G. Pearson (eds), Working Class Youth Cultures, (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1976).Google Scholar
  32. M. Phillipson, ‘Sociology, Metaphorically Speaking’, Writing Sociology, No. I, (1976).Google Scholar
  33. Radio Times London, BBC Magazines (1989).Google Scholar
  34. B. Redfern, Dance, Art and Aesthetics, (London: Dance Books, 1988).Google Scholar
  35. K. Roberts, Youth and Leisure, (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1983).Google Scholar
  36. R. Roberts, The Classic Slum, (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973).Google Scholar
  37. D. Robins and P. Cohen, Knuckle Sandwich, (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1978).Google Scholar
  38. P. Spencer (ed.), Society and the Dance, (Cambridge University Press, 1985).Google Scholar
  39. H. Thomas, Movement, Modernism and Contemporary Culture: Issues for a Critical Sociology of Dance, PhD Thesis, University of London Goldsmiths’ College (1986).Google Scholar
  40. D. Walsh, in P. Filmer, M. Phillipson, D. Silverman and D. Walsh, New Directions in Sociological Theory, (London: Collier-Macmillan, 1972).Google Scholar
  41. I. Walker, ‘Skinheads: The Cult of Trouble’ in P. Barker (ed.), The Other Britain, (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1982).Google Scholar
  42. D. Williams, ‘Deep Structures of the Dance’, Yearbook of Symbolic Anthropology, 1, (1978).Google Scholar
  43. B. Williamson, Class, Culture and Communiy, (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1982).Google Scholar
  44. P. Willis, ‘The Expressive Style of a Motor Bike Culture’ in J. Benthall and T. Polhemus (eds), The Body as a Medium of Expression, (London: Allen Lane, 1975).Google Scholar
  45. C. Wittman, ‘Loving Dance’ in F. Abbott (ed.), New Men, New Minds, (California: The Crossing Press/Freedom, 1987).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew H. Ward

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations