The EU-ropean Dance: Emancipation or Homogenization? Affirmative Culture or Critical Practice?

Thursday, December 8, 2022 - 14:00
Department of Sociology

Sociology Talks



The EU-ropean Dance: Emancipation or Homogenization? Affirmative Culture or Critical Practice?



In this talk, as part of a book project in progress, Ertem presents a mixed-methods qualitative sociological inquiry on the emergence and transformation of an art world as a distinct field of cultural production at a transnational level in Europe since 1989.

Ertem examines the making of a contemporary art world around the recasting of choreography as a field of knowledge production that defies common-sensical notions of dance and movement; analyzing how an incipient cohort of cultural agents took up a position within the larger field based on their intellectual capital and provided a legitimizing discourse that aided the recognition of their practices as “serious” art.

The aesthetic and discursive transformations within the artistic realm became “successful” due to broader historical, political, and organizational changes. The transnational networking movement that began in the independent performing arts field in the late 1970s and 1980s was boosted by the “cultural turn” of the European integration process in the post-Cold War context. Against a series of legitimation crises and the expansion of the European Union, the European Commission turned towards culture as an integrative force. To this end, it launched numerous programs and fostered a cultural policy that prioritized transnational cooperation and mobility. As European institutions utilized “culture-speak” to promote the idea of a Europe “united in diversity,” artistic and cultural networks deployed “Europe-speak.” Ertem establishes that in this process, transnational cooperation, international coproduction, and residencies—as well as a distinct aesthetics—gradually became the norm rather than the exception in contemporary dance and performance.



Gurur Ertem

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Freie University

Postdoctoral Research Fellow





December 8, 2022


Via Zoom