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Dance and Political Credibility: The Appropriation of Dabkeh by Zionism, Pan-Arabism, and Palestinian Nationalism Nicholas Rowe

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Abstract:

This article examines how the rural folkdance dabkeh has, in the last century, been appropriated and reinvented as a tradition in order to construct the imagined communities of Zionism, pan-Arabism, and Palestinian Nationalism within Palestine/Israel. This appropriation has led to extensive debates and suppositions on the source, meanings, and cultural ownership of dabkeh. The following historical narratives, emerging from interviews with dance practitioners and dance advocates in the West Bank, Israel, and Lebanon, and from literature in libraries and archives in the West Bank, Israel, and Great Britain, draw attention to the salient links between dance and politics and the multiple ways in which collective identities can be constructed and deconstructed. These histories further raise questions about how local cultural autonomy and sustainability within the Occupied Palestinian Territories have been affected by the process of political appropriation.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3751/65.3.11

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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