The study of the body in society has been a major focus of social and cultural analysis since the late 1980s. The body is generally the primary means of expression and representation in western social and theatrical dance. Given this, one might suppose that social and cultural analysts, whose interests centred on the relations between the body and culture, might have afforded dance more than a passing glance in their deliberations. Few social or cultural theorists of the body have been drawn to address dance systematically as a discursive or situated aesthetic practice, to generate insights into, for example, the politics of sexual and/or racial and/or class differences as they are traced through representations of the body and inscribed in bodily practices. These concerns have preoccupied social and cultural critics in the past twenty or so years.1


Cultural Theory Ethnographic Research Cultural Analysis Bodily Practice Cultural Body 
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© Helen Thomas 2003

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  • Helen Thomas

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