The Sexual Politics of Ballroom Dancing

  • Vicki Harman

Part of the Genders and Sexualities in the Social Sciences book series (GSSS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Vicki Harman
    Pages 1-28
  3. Vicki Harman
    Pages 51-73
  4. Vicki Harman
    Pages 91-104
  5. Vicki Harman
    Pages 105-125
  6. Vicki Harman
    Pages 127-149
  7. Vicki Harman
    Pages 151-165
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 167-170

About this book


This book presents an engaging sociological investigation into how gender is negotiated and performed in ballroom and Latin dancing that draws on extensive ethnographic research, as well as the author’s own experience as a dancer. It explores the key factors underpinning the popularity of this leisure activity and highlights what this reveals more broadly about the nature of gender roles at the current time. The author begins with an overview of its rich social history and shifting class status, establishing the context within which contemporary masculinities and femininities in this community are explored. Real and imagined gendered traditions are examined across a range of dancer experiences that follows the trajectory of a typical learner: from finding a partner, attending lessons and forming networks, through to taking part in competitions. The analysis of these narratives creates a nuanced picture of a dance culture that is empowering, yet also highly consumerist and image-conscious; a highly ritualised set of practices that both reinstate and transgress gender roles. This innovative contribution to the feminist leisure literature will appeal to students and scholars of anthropology, dance, sport, gender, cultural and media studies.  

Vicki Harman is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at University of Surrey, UK. She received the ISA Young Leisure Scholar Award for research that forms part of this book (2016).


ballroom dancing Latin dancing gender roles feminist leisure studies serious leisure studies performativity Masculinities femininity Beauty embodiment third wave feminism Consumption personal narratives social history social networks identity intimacy Strictly Come Dancing Dancing with the Stars sexualities

Authors and affiliations

  • Vicki Harman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of SurreySurreyUK

Bibliographic information