Crowd Solidarity on the Dancefloor in Paris and Berlin: Musical Performance and the Changing City

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


On a nightclub dance floor, strangers have no clear reason to feel connected to each other—and yet often they do. But in what sense, what register? A nightclub is an odd place to go looking for solidarity, considering that group solidarity is usually articulated around identity, kinship, or common cause. Electronic dance music (EDM) nightclubs may cater to a particular audience and develop a collection of 'regulars' over time, but in the 'techno' and 'house' nightclubs of Paris and Berlin, the questions of who belongs and how they do are studiously avoided. This chapter asks how gestures of warmth, care, and support can manifest in a context of casual contact and vague interpersonal knowledge. It argues that such connections offer a model for solidarity uncoupled from identity. Through engagement with ethnographic anecdotes, theories of collectivity, and interviews, I arrive at the concept of liquidarity: a slippery togetherness that manages to hold a heterogeneous and unconnected crowd?albeit tenuously. In a relation of liquidarity, vague recognitions and resonances reduce the sense of strangeness in strangers while preserving a sense of anonymity; they create a space of belonging that, however fluid, provides a sufficiently firm ground for gestures of social cohesion.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMusical Performance and the Changing City
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9780203078921
ISBN (Print)9780415644860
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Publication series

NameRoutledge Research in Music


  • Electronic Dance Music
  • Intimacy
  • Berlin
  • Paris
  • Chicago
  • Liquidarity
  • Ethnography


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