The dancefloor

A utopian reality within the disciplinary structures of capitalism

The dancefloor

A utopian reality within the disciplinary structures of capitalism

The dancefloor is magic. Who hasn’t known those very special moments when a vibe is created inside a club, a vibe that seems too good to be true? These moments are utopian in the sense that they appear to be unreal and yet they recur. One way of theorizing the dancefloor-dynamic is to use space-theories that describe social interactions through their materialization in spatial structures, like for example the architecture of buildings.

Those structures create spaces that determine our daily interactions, the way we think and the way we are. Our modern capitalist society is working through certain spatial structures as well - structures that discipline the individual in order to make him or her productive and useful for society. Examples include a prison, a school, or the surveillance of public space. On the other hand, societies create spaces that invert the regular spatial structures and therefore are a sort of realized utopia – called heterotopias in the social sciences. One such heterotopia is the club and its dancefloor.

This lecture will outline the spatial structures of the society we live in today and then theorize clubs and dancefloors in comparison to it. We will be able to understand the political value of clubs and dancefloors, but also the political conflicts that come along with their revolutionary structure. The presentation will end in an open discussion in which we will debate the potential of clubs and their dancefloors, drawing on the many experiences regular party visitors are able to share.