Belly dance : an example of cultural authentication? Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/x346d802n

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  • Cultural authentication is a concept that was developed by Erekosima (1979), Erekosima and Eicher (1981), and Eicher and Erekosima (1980, 1995) to aid in the description of the transfer of artifacts from one culture to another. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the development of belly dance costume in the United States is an example of cultural authentication and, in so doing, further test and refine the concept of cultural authentication. Contemporary belly dance costume in the United States was described after conducting field research of the belly dance community over a period of ten months. The history of belly dance and its associated costume in America was explored through the review of previous historical research. Belly dance and its associated costume in the United States was then analyzed in terms of cultural authentication by addressing a series of seven questions. These seven questions were formulated to determine whether the four levels of cultural authentication (selection, characterization, incorporation, and transformation) occurred, and whether they occurred in that order. Contemporary belly dance costume in the United States was classified into two categories: replicated and creatively interpreted. The dancer who wears replicated costumes believes that he/she is imitating, to the best of his/her ability, a documented style of dress worn by a specific ethnic group, at a specific time, within the areas of the Near and Middle East. The dancer who wears creatively interpreted costumes believes that while he/she has been inspired by documented styles of dress worn by ethnic groups within the areas of the Near and Middle East, his/her costume is particularly reflective of his/her unique personality and aesthetic preferences. It was concluded that the concept of cultural authentication is exceedingly vague. As currently defined, the concept and its four levels are inadequate to describe how Americans have acquired and used belly dance and its associated costume, what kinds of meanings Americans have attached to belly dance and its associated costume, and how market forces, advanced communication and transportation technologies, and individual and cultural identity issues are continually prompting and facilitating innovations to belly dance and its associated costume.
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