English Country Dance, a recreational folk dance activity of largely professional managerial workers in the twentieth-century United States, provides a window on the subjectivity and political culture of a class fraction that illustrates how middle-class studies imbricate that of working-class history. Moreover the income level, status, cultural and social capital of this quintessential middle-class fraction provides a window on the culture of liberalism in America. Self-identified liberal professionals and semiprofessionals constitute the modern dance community at the end of this century which was reconstituted out of the 1960s counterculture. Feminists, environmentalists and "spiritual," the modern dance community, which identifies as left-wing or liberal, reflects the shoals of race on which the modern political culture of liberalism flounders: originally an Anglo-American group, the "white" ethnic dancers who now predominate in ECD celebrate the dance floor as an anti-materialist "safe" urban space at the same time as they bemoan the lack of people of color on the dance floor. The modern folk dance community has become an alternative space, not an oppositional one.


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pp. 781-802
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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