Submission note: A thesis submitted in total fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy [to the] School of Communication, Arts and Critical Enquiry, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.
This thesis adopts a cultural studies perspective to examine the ways in which contemporary swing dancers’ embodied dance practices and discourse are mediated by communications technology and institutions. My approach involved extensive participant observation, theorised in terms of the representation and negotiation of identity (in terms of gender, sexuality, class, race, ethnicity and age) in both the embodied discourse of dance, and in mediated discourse about dance. My discussion of swing dancers’ uses of mediated communication technologies draws on the extensive literature dealing with various forms of fandom, making use of the research methods and critical work of authors such as Henry Jenkins, Camille Bacon-Smith and Matt Hills. This thesis also draws on cultural studies of dance literature, and the work of researchers such as Jane Desmond and Helen Thomas. I also make particular reference to researchers in the field of African American vernacular dance, including Thomas DeFrantz, Katrina Hazzard-Gordon and Brenda Dixon Gottschild. Beyond dance, my project explores the uses of digital and audio-visual media (particularly online technologies, music media and new audio-visual technologies) in both constituting and informing public discourse. I use the term ‘public discourse’ with reference to authors such as Nancy Fraser and other writers on the ‘public sphere’ and citizenship.
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