Luis-Manuel Garcia

Colleges, School and Institutes

Research interests

My research focuses on the global network of electronic dance music scenes (e.g., house, disco, techno, and so on), with Berlin as my primary site of fieldwork.

My first research project, Together, Somehow: Music, Intimacy, and Affect on the Dance Floor, is in its final stages, focusing on embodied stranger-intimacy at dance music events and the role that music and affect play in sustaining a sense of vague-but-meaningful belonging among dancers. This project was a multi-local study, based on fieldwork conducted in Chicago, Paris, and Berlin over the period of several years (2006-2010).

‘Techno Tourism’ is the focus of my second research project. This project studies the patterns of regular travel that bring fans and professionals to Berlin’s local electronic music scenes. Increasingly, this project is also examining music-driven migration to Berlin and electronic music’s role in the expanding ‘creative industries’ of the city.

In addition to these projects, I conduct research and write about music festivals, fieldwork methodology, sonic grain/texture, sound studies, and queer theory.

PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT & IMPACT: Through writing and public speaking, I strive to reach audiences beyond academia; as an ethnographer, I feel an ethical responsibility to ensure that the musical communities I study have the opportunity to access, respond to, and make use of my research. These efforts include several articles for Resident Advisor, the foremost online magazine for electronic music, as well as UK-based lifestyle periodical CRACK Magazine. I have been invited to speak at international music-industry events such as Club Transmediale (Berlin) and Amsterdam Dance Event, and my research has been the subject of in-depth interviews by the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, the Swiss Neue Zürcher Zeitung, and Resident Advisor’s ‘Exchange’ podcast series

PRACTICE AS RESEARCH: I am also committed to practice-intensive research, blending fieldwork, artistic practice, community engagement, and collaborative knowledge production. This commitment has driven my involvement in “La Mission” (an alternative, queer, Latinx, D.I.Y. art collective based in Berlin) and in “Room 4 Resistance” (an inclusive, political, women-led electronic music collective). Room 4 Resistance organizes dance music events that showcase femme-identified, trans, non-binary, queer, Black, Brown, and post-migrant artists while cultivating a safer space for marginalized dancers.


Luis-Manuel Garcia is a Lecturer in Ethnomusicology and Popular Music Studies at the University of Birmingham. His research focuses on urban electronic dance music scenes, with a particular focus on affect, intimacy, stranger-sociability, embodiment, sexuality, creative industries and musical migration. He is currently conducting a research project on ‘techno-tourism’ and musical mobility in Berlin while preparing a book manuscript, Together Somehow: Music, Affect, and Intimacy on the Dancefloor.


Previous academic positions include: Lecturer / Assistant Professor in Music at the University of Groningen (Arts, Culture, and Media / KCM department); Postdoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Human Development (History of Emotions research cluster); Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Berlin Program for German and European Studies, Free University of Berlin.

Education/Academic qualification

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Chicago

    “ ‘Can You Feel it Too?’: Intimacy and Affect at Electronic Dance Music Events in Paris, Chicago, and Berlin

    Sep 2004 - 26 Aug 2011
  • Master of Arts, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto

    The Soft Pink Meaning: A Case Study of Close Reading in Electronic Dance Musi

    Sep 2002 - Jun 2004
  • Bachelor of Music, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto

    Sep 1999 - Jun 2002

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

Dr Garcia is happy to discuss potential supervision with postgraduate candidates pursuing ethnographic research on topics relating to electronic dance music, affect, tourism and migration, sound studies, gender/sexuality, queer theory, creative industries, and projects relating to the music of Birmingham.