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date: 25 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Exploring the ontological politics of disco, this chapter historically explains the use of improvised social dancing in the formation of an alternative ethnicity among gay men and lesbians. The chapter argues that improvised social dancing (and disco in particular) has helped create a shared sense of culture for gay people that mimics ethnogenesis, insofar as disco offered an oppressed group a shared sense of belonging, communality, and identity. Like traditional ethnic dances, disco (and its progeny—techno, house, trance, tribal, etc.) perpetuates not only aesthetics, but also belief structures, linguistic/behavioral patterns, and social relations by providing a space wherein queer interpersonal and social bonds have been created and sustained. In turn, these bonds have contributed to the construction of lines of descent and inheritance, as well as shared ideas about common ancestry and history that parallel ethnic configurations of kinship.

Keywords: Disco, ethnicity, gay history, queer, kinship, Weber, ethnogenesis, improvised social dance, ethnic dance

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