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Dancing Difference: Migrants, Affective Politics, and the Party Space as a Site of Intercultural Connection


Dancing Difference: Migrants, Affective Politics, and the Party Space as a Site of Intercultural Connection

Stein, Jessie Lauren (2019) Dancing Difference: Migrants, Affective Politics, and the Party Space as a Site of Intercultural Connection. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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This thesis examines the political possibilities of spaces in which there is both a confrontation with the reality of heterogeneity as well as a genuine bid for the rights of presence of migrant populations through an ethnographic case study of an intercultural party series in Munich, Germany. Developed amidst anti-migrant sentiment at the height of the so-called ‘European refugee crisis’, at Plug in Beats, an attempt is made to treat a space shared by established locals and recent migrants democratically. The crowd selects the music, with each partygoer sharing a song of their choice for the DJ to play. The format of the dance party, in combination with an active inclusion policy, aims to create a non-hierarchical safer-space for meaningful intercultural exchange. Drawing on participant observation and interviews with party organizers and attendees, I evaluate the strengths and limits of inclusive intercultural space and investigate how the sharing of space at the party influences participants’ imaginings of themselves and each other. While the party itself cannot address exclusion or inequity at the root, it can provide a place for connections, and a platform for practicing new forms of social negotiation. The party format generates an affective politics which disrupts the stability of fixed judgements and relations. While the immediate transformative value of these kinds of events may be small, this thesis argues that this awareness-building process can act as a foundation for a broader political struggle.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Geography, Planning and Environment
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Stein, Jessie Lauren
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M. Sc.
Program:Geography, Urban & Environmental Studies
Date:13 September 2019
Thesis Supervisor(s):Rantisi, Norma
Keywords:interculturalism, arts for social change, inclusion, refugee crisis, migration, music, affective politics
ID Code:985918
Deposited On:05 Feb 2020 02:25
Last Modified:05 Feb 2020 02:25


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