Selling and Giving Dance

Authored by: Susan Leigh Foster

The Routledge Companion to Dance Studies

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138234581
eBook ISBN: 9781315306551
Adobe ISBN:


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Anthropological study of the concept of the gift extends back more than 100 years; however, recently, and in response to new global alignments of neo-liberal and capitalist values, there has been a renewed interest in the gift on the part of economists as well as anthropologists who find potential in this construct as an alternative to the capitalist commodity form of economic exchange. Concomitant with these inquiries, the very nature of what is produced in the global marketplace has shifted: The glut of material objects that are manufactured for sale has now been surpassed by the large number of immaterial services such as advertising, technical support, financial, health, and personal assistance services and more that are now conceptualized as commodities for sale, and this invites a reconsideration of dance as a form of labor that can produce commodities or gifts. How might dance be theorized and investigated in relation to these two intertwined arenas of research? What is a dance commodity in contrast to a dance gift? This chapter attempts to open up new dialog around dance as a form of cultural, political, and economic exchange through a consideration of its potential for being sold or given. Commodity and gift forms of exchange in dance will be considered in relation to a single example, the Netflix series The Get Down (2016).

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