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Title: The dance and society : a sociological analysis of the inter-relationship of the social dance and society in England from the age of Chaucer to the present day
Author: Rust, Frances Margaret
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1968
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The purpose of this thesis is, firstly, to enquire into the functional aspect of the social dance in society, and, secondly, within this general framework, to explore the particular hypothesis that variations in the social dance are never fortuitous or random, but are always intimately related to the social structure of society. The study falls into two parts. Part I opens with a brief mention of what might be called the 'structural/functionalist' framework within which the enquiry is couched. This is followed by a background chapter on the nature and origin of dance, and its significance in primitive society. The major part of the study comprises a detailed historical analysis of the social dance in England from the 13th century to the present day, drawing, wherever possible, on contemporary literary and historical material. For each century, or in certain cases subdivisions thereof, the nature of social dancing has been looked at in the light of the dominant sociological and social features of society at that time. In this way it has been possible to show, firstly, that although dancing in peasant and modern society is of much less significance than in primitive society, it does nevertheless have a functional aspect over the period in question. Secondly, it has been possible to correlate changes in the nature of social dancing with changes, inter alia, in social stratification, in relationships between the sexes, in industrialisation and technology, in social attitudes, and with various kinds of culture diffusion. The major hypothesis on which the study is based has thus. been validated, theoretically, and a case made out that the 'social dance' should be regarded as a significant part of the total culture pattern of society. Part II consists of a sociological survey of young peoples? attitudes and habits with relation to dancing, in which particular emphasis is given to contemporary 'teenage' solo dancing to 'beat' music. The data thrown up by this piece of empirical research are used to substantiate where appropriate the theories and hypotheses set out in Part I. Specifically, some weight is lent to the theory that there is a basic similarity between 'modern beat1 dancing and primitive dance. Generally, in so far as the explanation of the teenage dance phenomenon is to be found along the lines of a 'youth cult' rebelling against adult values and attitudes, it can be said that the findings of the survey tend to corroborate the idea that the social dance is functional, and closely related to the other institutions of society.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sociology