Dance and Authenticity is an ethnography of dance performance and cultural form. It describes how
dabkeh, a type of dance performed at Palestinian weddings, became a model for the Israeli Jewish
debkah as a means of affirming Israeli Jewish belonging and common society. The Palestinian
dabkeh, in turn, acquired nationalist meanings, especially after the 1967 war and the occupation of the West Bank. The book traces the history of these competing, and conflicting, dance forms, basing the argument principally on the ethnographic study of two Palestinian and one Israeli Jewish dance group conducted between 1998 and 1999. The result is a fascinating parallel ethnography, showing how the ethnography of dance forms contributes to evolving notions of collective national and political identity in a context of unequal power.
Elke Kaschl, Ph.D. (2002) in Middle Eastern Studies, University of Berne, is currently Researcher at the University of Fribourg and is working as project coordinator in the field of development in the Middle East.
The book is an extremely valuable source for the construction of nationalism in the Middle East' John Sakkas,
Journal of Oriental and African Studies, 2005.
All those interested in dance ethnography, the study of nationalism, cultural studies, performance studies as well as the politics, culture and history of Israel and Palestine.