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Document Type

Feature Article

Publication Date

Fall 9-1-2008

Publication Title

Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest: WUURD 4(1)


Peer Editor: Olga Lozovskaya; Faculty Mentor: Linda Lindsey

Using the sociological theory of symbolic interaction, this study analyzes contemporary social dancing as an embodied representation of the ways in which society and the individual are mutually- influential. On the dance floor, the establishment of symbols, creation of meaning, and prevalence of interpersonal interactions play a role in the determination of an individual’s behavior. Through the use of informal interviews and participant observations, the research conducted investigates the contemporary dance form of “grinding,” showing how it is intricately connected to larger notions of sexual expression, gender role performance, and power assertion. By closely examining the experiences of men and women on the dance floor, this study draws attention to the significance of social dancing as a form of cultural commentary. This research opens the door for further discourse on the need for a reunification of mind and body in the contemporary language of touch.

From the Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest: WUURD, Volume 4, Issue 1, Fall 2008. Published by the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Henry Biggs, Director of Undergraduate Research and Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences; Joy Zalis Kiefer, Undergraduate Research Coordinator, Co-editor, and Assistant Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences; Kristin Sobotka, Editor.


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