In 2011, Bethany Whiteside embarked on an ESRC CASE Studentship in the sociology of dance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the University of St Andrews, sponsored by Creative Scotland. Bethany has published in a range of peer-reviewed publications, presented at national and international conferences, is a guest lecturer at the University of Edinburgh and was a founding Co-Editor of the Scottish Journal of Performance. In 2014, Bethany was a Visiting Research Scholar at the dance department of Temple University, Philadelphia, funded by the ESRC as an Overseas Institutional Visit.
‘Globalisation has led to the global export of salsa as a leisure pursuit’ (Skinner, 2007, p. 495), with salsa classes, clubs and congresses taking place ‘from Gothenberg (Sweden) to Sacramento’ (Skinner, 2007, p. 486). However, as Hannerz (1996) argues, cultural life continues to be heterogeneous despite the impact of globalisation, and with particular reference to social salsa dancing, ‘local particularities and individual reactions’ (Skinner, 2007, p. 485) give particular distinctions to ‘salsa communities’. Recent ethnographic case studies have interrogated the salsa scenes in London (Urquía, 2005), Los Angeles (García, 2013) and Belfast (Skinner, 2008). This paper interrogates the distinct nature of the ‘salsa community’ in the heart of the city of Glasgow, Scotland. Erving Goffman’s (1959/1990) model of dramaturgy is utilised to frame qualitative data gathered through observations and interviews, to ask: How may this ‘salsa community’, a product of globalisation, be considered as having a distinct identity?