Disco and the Queering of the Dance Floor

Article


Lawrence, T. 2011. Disco and the Queering of the Dance Floor. Cultural Studies. 25 (2), pp. 230-243.
AuthorsLawrence, T.
Abstract

Disco is associated commonly with the highly commercial and socially regressive Studio 54 and Saturday Night Fever. However, the movement that preceded, ran parallel and ultimately outlasted these articulations of the culture was queer in terms of its refusal of both straight normative and gay normative articulations. The queer make-up of disco culture was grounded in its sexually mixed demographic base in New York private party and public discotheque venues, which constitute the focus of the article. Four key areas of queerness are considered in turn: disco's break with traditional couples dancing as the basis of social dance, and the queer recasting of the dancing body as a site of affective intensities that underpins a form of collective sociality; the DJ practice of cross-generic sounds and creating a musical set in conjunction with the dancing crowd; the sonic make-up of disco music, and in particular its polymorphous component; and the alternative experience of temporality and space on the dance floor, as well as the destabilizing impact of a range of dance floor technologies. The work of Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Richard Dyer and Judith Halberstam is considered. The article concludes with an analysis of the politicised backlash against disco in the late 1970s.

JournalCultural Studies
Journal citation25 (2), pp. 230-243
ISSN0950-2386
Year2011
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/09502386.2011.535989
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1080/09502386.2011.535989
Publication dates
Online14 Mar 2011
Publication process dates
Deposited08 Mar 2019
Copyright information© 2011 Taylor & Francis
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https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/86105

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