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Habitus in Dance: The Social and Artistic Skills of a Rehearsal

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Sociology of the Arts in Action

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Abstract

What kind of cognitive and social mechanisms dancers activate when in rehearsal? Artistic practices do not occur in a social vacuum. The microsociological concepts of focused interaction [Goffman (Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience. Harvard University Press, 1974)], intersubjectivity [Schütz (Making Music Together – A Study in Social Relationship. Martinus Nijhoff, 1971)], and habitus (Bourdieu, 1979) explain artistic practices in its context of production. These concepts overcome an individualistic take on creativity. I present a video-aided ethnography, framed in a longitudinal and interdisciplinary research project with the London dance company Wayne McGregor-Random Dance & ICL from the Department of Cognitive Science of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). The chapter includes excerpts of a Conversational Analysis of multimodal instructions. Musicality, listening, and physicality are indicators of artistic skills. They are cognitive but also social skills since the members of the dance company share them.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    On the critique of the rational choice model as a formalized fiction, see Muntanyola-Saura (2014).

  2. 2.

    See Menin and Schiavio (2012) for a recent discussion on the possibilities of musical action.

  3. 3.

    A question asked to the attendees of EAP CogSci 2015, 4th European Conference on Cognitive Science (Turin, 2015).

  4. 4.

    The concept of “habitus” was introduced by Mauss (1936) in his text on corporeal techniques, and Panofsky (1967) developed and applied it in his book on Gothic art and scholasticism. Bourdieu (1979), in his postface to Panofsky’s work, gives his first definition of habitus.

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Muntanyola-Saura, D. (2022). Habitus in Dance: The Social and Artistic Skills of a Rehearsal. In: Rodríguez Morató, A., Santana-Acuña, A. (eds) Sociology of the Arts in Action. Sociology of the Arts . Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-11305-5_6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-11305-5_6

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