Exporting the embodied capital of Colombian salsa

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This research approaches the way in which salsa dancing travels from urban local working-class environments in Colombia to the transnational cosmopolitan circuits of salsa dancing. To do so, it approaches the corporal knowledge of Colombian salsa as a form of embodied capital. Departing from habitus/field theory, this project aims to integrate the embodied practice and transmission of dance, with the structural social and historical conditions that determine it functioning. By situating Colombian salsa as a post-colonial and ethnically/racially inter-sectional phenomenon, habitus/field theory is problematised and challenged regarding its scope in understanding the nuances of this embodied practice. Subsequently, Bogota and London are analysed as comparative case studies for this export from an anthropological perspective through the use of ethnographic observant participation, and semi-structured and video-elicited interviews with dancers and promoters of the style. By integrating different levels of analysis that range from the transmission of embodied knowledge in dance classes, the understanding of the class, race and gender dynamics in Latin Urban spaces in both cities, and the integration of these localised scenes to the wider transnational field of salsa via post-colonial and inter-imperial networks, this research presents the process of converting body movement into participation in the market economy. 
Date of Award1 May 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorAnanya Kabir (Supervisor) & Joanne Entwistle (Supervisor)

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