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Season 4: Ep. 6-8 Together Somehow: Belonging, Intimacy, and Cohesion


In this three part series, we explore Luis Manuel Garcia-Mispireta’s book, Together Somehow. This conversation is about dancefloors, nightlife, dance culture, electronic dance music, house music, and queer theory and affect theory. AND this conversation is about how belonging, social cohesion, utopianism, migration, and intimacy can be studied through the metaphors produced by ethnomusicology.

In part one, we look at managements of diversity and politics of belonging, In part two we look at metaphors as pathways to understanding and new understandings of intimacy. And finally in part three, we look at utopianism, an unfolding of the self, and a thickening of the we into forms of belonging.

Luis Manuel Garcia-Mispireta

Luis Manuel Garcia-Mispireta is Associate Professor in Ethnomusicology and Popular Music Studies at the University of Birmingham. His research focuses on urban electronic dance music scenes, with a particular focus on affect, intimacy, stranger-sociability, embodiment, sexuality, creative industries and musical migration. His book, Together Somehow: Music Affect, and Intimacy on the Dancefloor is published by Duke University Press.

Book Cover- Together Somehow

Discussion Questions

  1. Part 1 (questions taken directly from the narrations)

  2. What is this dialogue between place and translocal space?

  3. How does a place and space construct the boundaries of belonging?

  4. When do we form optimistic attachments to a sense that this is the space that will accept us? When does this optimism become cruel by structures of restriction?

  5. How are our senses of belonging found within embeddedness and intimacy?

  6. When and how do we feel the stability of our belonging to a space and place?

  7. In the “stages” where I perform my life, how do we stage manage inclusion, and the forms of inconvenient difference that are cleared from the frames of structured diversity?

  8. Mechanisms of door apparatus serve as useful analytic metaphors to study thresholds of belonging. How do door apparati operate at thresholds of nation-state borders, college entrance requirements, classroom spaces, and communities. What are the unwritten rules that guide performances of successful entry?

  9. How do unwritten rules build spaces for affiliation, safety, and belonging for those who enter? AND How do unwritten rules morph diversity into illusionary performances and bias-informed judgments?

  10. The seeds of violence are grown in contexts of fragmentation, isolation, and unjust difference. When does a metaphorical door close to fragment communities or perpetuate unjust difference? When does it close to offer safety and belonging? When does a door open in gestures of belonging and hospitality?

  11. How do our own cultures vary structures of tightness and looseness for diversity, safety, and freedom?  

  12. When might we seek to ‘create an impasse,’ challenging the norms that structure the tight and loose?


Part 1:

1:45 Dancefloors as a Whole World
4:50 Backgrounds
6:06 Translocal Subculture
8:58 Place, Space, and Belonging
10:29 Migration, Tourism, and Alienation
12:33 Door Apparatus
17:18 Inconvenient Difference
18:47 Filtering Difference, Performing Diversity
21:36 Doors as Metaphors
23:53 Performing to Belong
27:19 Tight and Loose Cultures
29:09 Dancefloors Tight and Loose
30:14 Freedom, Cohesion, and Curations of Belonging


Berlant, L. (2011). Cruel optimism. Duke University Press.

Dyer, R. (2002). Entertainment and utopia. In Only entertainment (pp. 19-35). Taylor & Francis.

Garcia-Mispireta, L. M. (2016). Techno-tourism and post-industrial neo-romanticism in Berlin’s electronic dance music scenes. Tourist Studies, 16(3), 276-295.

Garcia-Mispireta, L. M. (2023). Together, somehow: Music, affect, and intimacy on the dancefloor. Duke University Press.

Gelfand, M. (2018). Rule makers, rule breakers: Tight and loose cultures and the secret signals that direct our lives. Scribner.

Ngai, S. (2005). Introduction. In Ugly feelings (pp. 1-37). Harvard University Press.


Together Somehow with Garcia-Mispireta

Lauren Berlant on Cruel Optimism

Sound of Berlin Documentary





belonging, space, door, dance floor, clubs, apparatus, culture, berlin, diversity, book, scene, communities, peacebuilding, garcia, metaphors, structures, german, subculture, tightness, city


Kevin Shorner-Johnson, Luis-Manuel Garcia-Mispireta


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  00:00

You are listening to season four of the music and peacebuilding podcast. A podcast season focused on multifaceted textures of belonging. Our podcast explores intersections of peacebuilding, sacredness, community, creativity and imagination through research and story. Luis Manuel Garcia-Mispireta is associate professor in ethnomusicology and popular music studies at the University of Birmingham. His research focuses on urban electronic dance music scenes, with a particular focus on effect, intimacy, Stranger sociability, embodiment, sexuality, creative industries, and musical migration. His book, together somehow, music effect and intimacy on the dance floor, is published by Duke University Press. In this three part series, we explore Garcia-Mispireta's book together somehow. This is about worlds of nightlife and the belonging found within dance floor communities. This podcast is also not about dance floors, using dance floors has analytical metaphors that allow us to examine peacebuilding belonging, conflicted harm, and music in every corner of modern life. In part one, we look at managements of diversity and politics of belonging. In part two, we look at metaphors as pathways to understanding and new understandings of intimacy. And finally, in part three, we look at utopianism an unfolding of the self, and a thickening of the we into forms of belonging.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  01:45

I want to open the interview, to ask you to paint a picture for my audience about what a dance floor is. And as I noted in your book that you wrote, you know, that it's its audience, venue community, and you write that it's not just a space, but it's a whole world. So what is a whole world as a dance floor? And why is it worthy of study,


Luis-Manuel Garcia-Mispireta  02:09

one of the first sets of feedback that I got when this book manuscript was going through the whole review process, and so on, for one reviewer, who shall remain nameless, was, you know, dance floors in the title, you keep on talking about dance floors, except you include stories from like, waiting in the queue for the toilets, stories from queuing outside, right? Like, that's not a dance floor. And, you know, after I sort of got over my initial kind of emotional response to that feedback, I then realized, yes, they have a point, I have to explain that. So yeah, you know, a dance floor, in this community, especially, you know, in the world of electronic music, people will talk about the floor, the room, the crowd, these are all terms that are often used interchangeably, right? To mean, the space where dance is happening, but that includes also the spaces around it. That includes, you know, all of the bar service area that includes the the intersocial spaces that you move through the dance floor itself, the thing where people go and actually dance, which is important, and I think it remains, it remains symbolically important if that's the right word for this scene, right? Like, that's, I think, why people will use the word dance floor to refer to not just that specific space, but a whole club, the crowd that's on it, and also sometimes the the social space itself, right? So yes, you've got the fact the physical space itself, and that's Central. But then beyond that, because it is so important for this, this subculture, it carries with it associations with the whole world that's attached to it, right. So it comes to stand in for kind of metaphorically, or metonymically, it comes to stand in for the crowds that gather on it, it comes to stand in for the kind of experiences you can have on it, that kind of vibe and moods that attached to it. It's a place of work for some people as well. It's a place of escape, but it's also a place of labor. It's a place of production. And for many, many, many people, especially a lot of the folks that were really central to my research, including myself, you know, as a queer person of color, these are also refuges, you know, and there are these these spaces of kind of ambivalent refuge where you go to escape sometimes, you know, the strictures and the pressures of the real world you go there to maybe be a different kind of person or to try on a different way of being and looking. And those are also spaces where you experience oppression anyways, right? Those are also still spaces where sometimes racism, you know, racism will happen to you sometimes queer phobia, transphobia will happen to you. You know, again, that's why I think the dance floor as a as a kind of a concept for me, kind of an anchoring concept was so important because for me, at least coming out of this, this subculture, it carries all of that ambivalence and all of that complexity, so it's a really layered space for me.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  04:49

Garcia-Mispireta's experiences with the layered spaces of the dance floor were born out of a background in Toronto and Detroit with extensions to Indiana and Chicago. As he worked in the UK and the Netherlands, Garcia-Mispireta entered a trans national frame as a researcher spending time in England, Paris and Berlin. Garcia-Mispireta notes that in the 1990s Rave scenes were regional, and were organized by listservs in Western New York, Ontario, Midwest, and the 313 listserv in Detroit. Individuals also entered through different genres from disco, early house, and more recently through EDM, these listservs tethered cultures together, offering a connective subculture that crossed the boundaries of the local, forming a trans local set of practices, knowledge and connection. I asked Garcia-Mispireta about how he encountered felt and experienced the trends, local and local nature of clubs scenes in Chicago, Paris and Berlin.


Luis-Manuel Garcia-Mispireta  06:06

Every city yes has its own scene with its own kind of vibe, its own set of clubs, and also even like its own set of kind of preferred sub genres of music and styles and so on. Sure. But there is a way in which once you've really become in like enculturated once you really had a chance to kind of soak in the subculture of one specific city, it does give you a set of kind of sub cultural knowledge and skills and expertise and competencies, that allows you to then go to other cities and make your way into those scenes, it doesn't mean that you can just like waltz, right in right and be welcomed, like a local No, right, you know, but nonetheless, it does teach you certain sets of skills. Like for me, for example, when I first arrived to Paris, to do fieldwork, and I had no prior connection to the city's techno scene before that, unlike with Chicago, where I had been living and studying for several years before I started doing focused work. In Paris, I arrived there, and I did speak French. So like, I did speak pretty good French, that was not a barrier, per se. But nonetheless, I needed to know how to get into this into the scene, and this would have been in 2006-07, this is before really, you could rely on social media to find these sorts of spaces. So what do you do? You know, I knew that I had to go, I had to find out, where are the vinyl shops, I have to go to those vinyl shops, I have to look for the flyers that are sitting by the entrance, I should probably be talking to the folks who work at the vinyl shop, you know, be a customer, but also talk them up a little bit, ask them, Where are the clubs? Where are the parties? And that sort of thing? Yes, the Internet was also a resource even before social media, you'd be going to mailing lists, forums, these sorts of things, right? These are all competencies and skills, right? These are ways to learn how to integrate yourself into the scene. But also there are other kinds of things, there are certain kinds of norms. So you know, when there's a whole chapter in the book on touch and touch norms, right, and the way that we relate to each other, tact-, you know, through tactility is, of course, really, really culturally specific, right? And I comment on that in the book, right? That like the way that people touch or don't touch each other. In France versus Germany versus Chicago versus how I grew up as a Latino in North America, like these are all different than some of the people I was talking to experience that and really marked ways themselves, right, these sort of contrasts, but in every place that I did research, when I would talk to people about tactility, they would always comment on how the touch norms whatever they were, were always loosened in clubs spaces. This way in which as you move from city to city, you'll still see similarities in the way that the subculture kind of works and how it compares to its surrounding daytime culture if you if you think of it this way, you know, the wider wider society that it's based in. There's there's a set of kind of practices, norms, relationships to everyday normal life or contrasts from you know, that're from... that are kind of transposable you can take some of that knowledge with you, you can use that to integrate yourself into other scenes. And as you do you move between the scenes also then you become the interesting person who for this other scene.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  08:58

Modern life and predictions of significant forthcoming increases in human migration offer challenges of identity and belonging. And this notion of translocal helps us look at how sub cultural communities from Kpop to diasporic communities are held across space and time. What is this dialogue between place and translocal space? How does a place and space construct the boundaries of belonging? When do we form optimistic attachments, to a sense that this is the place that will accept us? When does this optimism become cruel by structures of restriction? Garcia-Mispireta's article on techno tourism offers a fascinating examination of how some respondents identified as tourists or outsiders who are connected to a place by visiting interest. And then some respondents denied the identity of a tourist, stating that in their knowledge and connections to Berlin, they had become, quote, a part of the furniture, or felt as if they belonged at a deeper and more authentic level. How are our senses of belonging found within embeddedness and intimacy? When and how do we feel the stability of our belonging to a space and place?


Luis-Manuel Garcia-Mispireta  10:29

You know, I've got another piece that I wrote not as part of this book, but as a kind of a spin off article of postdoc research where I was looking at techno tourism in Berlin specifically, right, and also the leader of techno migration, people who are relocating like just pulling up sticks and moving their entire lives to Berlin, to be closer to the techno scene there. And a lot of them will talk about the kind of deep cultural alienation of living in Berlin, like, they'll talk about how much they loved the city, specifically, and loved and felt really deep kind of emotional, affective resonances, with the built environment of the city, the way people sort of carry themselves in everyday life. Like there'll be all these ways in which they would identify and maybe even over identify with the city. But then at the same time, they would talk about how they would try to go to like the Burgeramt, one of these sort of civil offices, to like, get registered with their new address or try to open a bank account or whatever, and then find it profoundly alienating mostly around language barriers, but also around the way that German society itself is very unwelcoming to migrants, right, you know, whether they are like relatively privileged, white, European presenting, or whether they are, you know, darker skinned and coming from the Global South, obviously, those factors really do impact also how you are welcomed in that space or not, but even when you look a lot like a white, German, and so on. Nonetheless, there are all these ways that it can be really deeply alienating to try to integrate into that city. But yet, you can go to the techno scene, to the local, you know, you know, techno clubs in Berlin, where a lot is done in German, but you can also survive an English, you'll probably find other expats and migrants there who maybe are from where you're from, you know, there are all these ways in which folks are able to experience a kind of belonging to the city and to the city's civic life, through the music scene and through specifically electronic music scene. And sometimes that actually stands in for belonging to the city in the more kind of legal and also national slash ethnic way. When that's not easily accessible as a form of civic belonging, sometimes the way that people can stamp or feel that sense of connection to the city is actually, through the nightlife.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  12:33

Fascinating, And so to build off that that's a great transition to the whole idea of door apparatus, and the politics of belonging. And I think my favorite, my favorite story in your book, was the, it was the cringe worthy story. And I think we've maybe have all had the experience somewhat like this, where you're in Berlin, and you're standing in the line, and you're about to get in, and then these people who are less cool behind you, or less integrated right behind you are trying to.. are too loud. They're they're not fitting the cultural norms, and you're trying to make this decision about do I help this group and possibly take myself down? Or do I, you know, I loved that story. So could could you open up that story about like, what does the door mean and dance floors? And how does this connect to dance.. to the politics of belonging?


Luis-Manuel Garcia-Mispireta  13:20

Yeah, that that is that is like a favorite anecdote of mine as well. And it's one that even when I was preparing this as a, as a PhD project, before this became a book, this is something that, you know, my supervisors would, you know, commented on, as well as, like, this is a great story. And I should be clear, like full transparency, for those who haven't yet read the book, you know, of course, in parentheses go buy the book, but in that story, pretty much from the outset, you know, as soon as I assessed them as like, oh, wow, this group of five British lads, you know, who are clearly a little drunk are not getting in. I, from the beginning, was doing my very best to pretend that I didn't even speak English, right? I was, I was not initially, I wasn't asking the question of like, should I help them? Should I not? I was like, Oh, no. How do I pretend to not even under.. like, not even be able to engage with them, right? Until they were just so relentlessly affable and social that I kind of, you know, it just triggered some of my sort of, I don't know, like, polite Canadianess or whatever. And then I had to, I had to engage, right? You know, and you'll have to read folks will have to read the book to get the end of that story. But yeah, you know, so that is kind of an encapsulating or crystallizing story for this whole door apparatus, right. And that the term that I use, like I developed this term, the door apparatus, just as another way to talk about all the folks at the door who manage your entry, because it's sometimes in some clubs, there's just one person at the door and it's both that person is playing the role of like, bouncer guestlist management, you know, and maybe even taking, taking payment at the door, but much, much more often, especially at the bigger clubs in, you know, cities like Berlin and Paris, and to some degree Chicago. Chicago is a different city, at least at the time of my research for these things, but you'll have yes The muscle at the door you'll have a person, the person who has been designated with kind of the the right to use force, physical force on behalf of the business, right? That's the bouncer. But you might have a person who's sort of like the box office person who's actually taking payment for entry, that might be the same person as the guestlist person, but those could be separate. And in many scenes, especially in Berlin, you also have the the door kind of host or selector. There's some other terms for it from the queer underground scene that I'm not going to repeat, repeat here. But you know, there's there's another role as well of the person who's sort of the face of the party, they might be somebody who's connected to who's organizing the party as well. Sometimes the host will be somebody who represents the community that they're trying to welcome in. So for example, for a lot of queer parties, they might have a well known local drag performer, for example, being the host, and so on. And often, it's the host, who is also doing selection in cities where door selection is kind of possible, right? Like, in some cities, municipal laws are such that essentially, you, you kind of can't just tell somebody, no, you're not getting in, you need to give them a particular reason, it often has to be boiled down to a dress code. And that's how we get especially in North America, for example, a lot of these essentially low key racist dress codes, right? You know, where there are these all these seemingly arbitrary yeses and nos as far as what can be worn inside, it really just has to it just maps to race and class and so on. And it gets selectively enforced, right? In Berlin, in particular, Berlin, especially as a city is one where there's like, no required transparency around the decision making at the door. And so, you know, like a bouncer doesn't need to tell you why you're not allowed in, right? They sometimes will. But the the relationship there is very different between like the person trying to get in and the bouncer, you know, and again, it might sometimes be the bouncer who's making the decision, it might sometimes be the desk, the host, right? But I guess across all of that, for me, that's that's all the the door apparatus, right? That's this whole sort of setup that you know, it's an apparatus in the sense that it is, you know, I'm sort of here quoting from like kind of French theory especially like Dispositif you know, ala Foucault, right, this idea of a whole kind of set of like actors and technologies and so on, that are all webbed together to serve a function


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  17:14

Garcia-Mispireta writes of the clearing of inconvenient difference. dance floors appeared to manage diversity within larger frames of a leading culture, or leitsubkultur. Garcia-Mispireta writes, this embedded diversity sustains a space of safe and mostly harmonious cosmopolitanism, by first passing everyone through a process of selection that filters out differently different people. That is, those whose difference poses a threat to a club's, leitsubkultur, the door apparatus in which this diversity is embedded, rejects certain unintegrated or unassimilable bodies, primarily on the basis of a visual and interactive assessment, close quote, of who belongs and who does not. As the structures of a club, clear dance floors of inconvenient difference. They stage social space performances of radical inclusivity. I wonder, in the stages where I perform my life, how do we stage manage inclusion, and the forms of inconvenient difference that are cleared from the frames of structured diversity?


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  17:14

I thought it was really fascinating to think about this idea of filtering inconvenient difference. If I sense it right, in your book, you're trying to look at the dance floor specifically. But then you also look at much larger structures. Right, right. Right, right immigration policies in the countries and stuff like that, and the ways in which we perform diversity in these inside spaces thinking that we have diversity when we have already actually filtered inconvenient difference on the outside, right.


Luis-Manuel Garcia-Mispireta  19:14

Yeah, absolutely. And that's where I get to. So that's in the, you know, the last major chapter right before the epilogue. So in many ways, this is sort of a closing thought for the whole book, you know, I'm looking at the door apparatus. That's where I'm thinking about the whole process of door selection, door policies, you know, inclusion and exclusion, essentially, right, and how they happen at the door. But yeah, I'm also zooming out to the way in which there's like National discourses of cultural integration, immigration policy, and so on, and how some of the ways that people talk about that then get reproduced, reproduced at the door, and that all gets me to this idea of embedded diversity, right? Like there's sort of two big ideas that come out of that chapter. Or at least that's how I remember it. You know, one is this idea of embedded diversity and the other one is this kind of a riff on a German term. So leitsubkultur, right? And so this comes from leitkultur which is this concept that was advanced, you know, it's like an ideological concept, right? It's a concept that was developed predominantly in conservative circles in German political discourse. It translates more or less directly, or literally, it translates into English as leading culture. And the idea here was that for immigration policy at the time, it was supposed to be this way of requiring immigrants to demonstrate cultural competency in German culture, right. But then the question is, what is German culture? Right? You know, in other, especially in European countries, especially countries that have been, or continue to be centers of empire, and colonization and so on, you know, the question of what counts like, what is the content of French culture, German culture, British culture, et cetera? Is this really fraught question especially when you're supposed to be welcoming migrants, especially from your former colonies, right? So in Germany, the way that they sort of square that circle was to say, all right, yes, there are multiple cultures that come with these migrants. Yes, yes. Yes, I guess we have to put up with them. Right. But how will we welcome or like, how will we get them to integrate without just sort of forcefully assimilating them into into sort of dominant German culture? And so the the framework that they eventually landed on, at least on the on the political right was this idea of a leading culture that yes, there can be many cultures in Germany, but there is one leading culture and other minority groups need to nonetheless sort of swear fealty to or demonstrate a competency and a fluency in this leading culture, if they want to have access to the welfare state, to citizenship, to residency.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  21:36

A door apparatus includes all the people, structures, and technologies that make up decisions about who gets in and who does not. As nightclub participants stand in line for entrance, they engage in performances of a hope for acceptance, he writes. In Paris or London, for example, men could increase their likelihood of accessing most nightclubs by dressing in mid range, pret a porter fashion, collared shirt, designer jeans, chinos, no sneakers, and appearing in the company of at least one woman. The door apparatus seeks to create inside communities of managed diversity, safety, and the right vibe of party. Members perform and costume their imagings of assimilation and differentiation. Mechanisms of door apparatus serve as useful analytic metaphors to study thresholds of belonging. How do door apparati operate at thresholds of nation state borders, college entrance requirements, classroom spaces and communities? What are the unwritten rules that guide performances for successful entry? How do these unwritten rules build spaces for affiliation, safety and belonging for those who enter? And how do these unwritten rules morph diversity into illusionary performances and bias informed judgments? The seeds of violence are grown in contexts of fragmentation, isolation and unjust difference. When does a metaphorical door close to fragment communities or perpetuate unjust difference? When does it close to offer safety and belonging? When does a door open in gestures of belonging and hospitality? Returning to the conversation, Garcia-Mispireta speaks to the management of inconvenient difference


Luis-Manuel Garcia-Mispireta  23:53

how you sort of convince the door person that you should get in right and by should I mean that you will go in and contribute to the the ambiance, you'll contribute to the vibe, you won't cause trouble, you'll get along with everybody else. Right? You won't be inconvenient, right? Like, how will you not be inconvenient? How will they know? They know or they think they know by making a bunch of assessments visually, but also based on how you present yourself how you talk, how you respond to the way that they talk to you all sorts of you know, there's all these sort of signals and there's, there's a lot of deep reading that happens in that moment at the door. It's very kind of high stakes in a way. And a lot of that, you know, my analysis of it is that a lot of that has to do with how well you perform your familiarity and your kind of fluency with whatever they as an institution represent at that particular club. And so then we get to embedded diversity is this idea that yes, the comparison to the metaphor that I make here is similar to like a vintage shop, right that like there's that inside of a lot of these clubs spaces, especially ones that you know, in Berlin that would often kind of pride themselves on this kind of mixity right and that like we're, you know, we're anti glam. We're not like an elite upscale Club. We're like a gritty and mixed in everybody can come. And of course, all of this rhymes or this resonates with a much older longer kind of ethos in nightlife and club culture of open inclusiveness, and especially the inclusiveness of those who've been marginalized elsewhere, right, like that goes right back to disco if not earlier. And a lot of this also picks up or has echoes of the kind of 60s 70s counterculture, you know, hippie era, these sorts of things like those also, you know, there's a lineage there, right. So, it is sub culturally important to these scenes to be seen as and to the they themselves believe that they are doing, that they are creating inclusive spaces, they are creating spaces where, you know, everybody in principle can come right, even if at the same time practically some filtration needs to needs to happen in order to keep the space safe in order to keep the space welcoming, especially for certain folks in certain identities in order to maybe hold space that would otherwise get automatically filled by folks of a dominant majority, right? All of these, you know, like, that's sort of the ambivalence that needs to be held, kind of, you know, held together. And yet, you know, on the one hand, when you go into some of these spaces, at least, this is my experience you would go with, and you'd see kind of anecdotally or visibly, yeah, there's, you know, it isn't purely whitespace there are some folks of color here, not a lot, but there's some, you know, certainly there are some queer folks in this non queer club party or, you know, yes, there's, you know, there's there will always be a bit of representation. But for me, my read on that is that this ends up being a kind of a carefully curated performance of diversity, especially a kind of harmonious, diverse dance floor. Right. And that's, that's, you know, they're delivering what a lot of folks want in that, from their experience, even the people who might be critical of the door apparatus, and might themselves experience oppression at the door. Yes, part of the the pleasure of getting into these spaces is that once you're in Yes, it mostly goes really well you mostly get along with this crowd. You know, that for some folks, this might be the only or one of very few spaces where they get to kind of just freely float about in a social space and not, you know, encounter, you know, conflict, right. But the way that you get there, or at least the way that these institutions get there is by doing a whole bunch of filtering at the door and even before people get to the door right through all sorts of forms of kind of passive and active filtration.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  27:19

I layer here a reflection on intersections between Garcia-Mispireta's, it does work and the work of renowned cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand. Her book, Rule Makers Rule Breakers explores how cultures lean toward tight and loose orientations. Tight cultures are often rule bound, offer strong social norms and moral codes, and often operate to restrict or keep out threat. Loose cultures are often accepting of diversity, have looser social norms and moral codes and map to locations with greater creativity and innovation. Drawing upon anthropological historical and geographic data Gelfand notes that tight and loose cultural structures map to environmental conditions, population density and historical dangers. Cultural tightness is often a response to threat. As I sat with this conversation, I became fascinated by how dance culture creates systems of external tightness and internal looseness. The looseness offers affective experiences of expressive freedom and unfolding whilst the tightness of the door protects that fantasy from unwanted intrusions. How do our own cultures vary structures of tightness and looseness for diversity, safety, and freedom? When might we seek to create an impasse, challenging the norm is that structure the tight and loose?


Luis-Manuel Garcia-Mispireta  29:10

for clubs that are businesses that need to make money and need to attract a stable crowd stable audience, they will embed these these spaces of you know kind of free hedonism and so on in these technologies of pretty strict discipline, right? Like you know, the the door apparatus is one of them, right? These like that, yeah, there's this way in which you get you get the hard exclusion and the hard filtering at the door or just before the door, you often will have to go through a pretty, like strict or pretty, pretty forceful display of kind of control and discipline and surveillance as you go through the door. You know, your body gets checked, depending on what club you're going into. They can be really invasive. The door people particularly the bouncers might be instructed to be quite gruff and like curt with you and a little bit menacing. You know, others in other clubs will have a very different approach. But nonetheless, yeah, you go through a lot of this kind of implied or threatened violence, control surveillance whatever at the door in order to then have this space where you can really run amok inside, right or at least run free and feel like there's like, less at stake.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  30:15

Our sense of belonging may be structured by the apparatus by which we gain entry, and how we navigate cultural structures of tightness and looseness. The experiences of freedom so profoundly felt on the dance floor are in some way built by the bounded structures of a dance floor, and the apparatus of entry. This opening conversation provides an important metaphor and reflection that leads us to examine tightness, looseness, and the curation of belonging, and also how cultures orient themselves to histories of threat. It may be the role of the peacebuilder to ask how and why assisting communities in examining the door apparati that produce political structures of belonging and exclusion.


Kevin Shorner-Johnson  31:10

In the next part two of this series, we will examine provocative metaphors, intimacy, and the notion of an intimate public. This is the music and peacebuilding podcast hosted by Kevin Shorner-Johnson. At Elizabethtown college we host a Master of Music Education, with an emphasis on peacebuilding. thinking deeply, we reclaim space for connection and care. Join us at music

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