Dance project questions

The aim of this thesis, which has guided this research from the beginning, is:

To identify the cultural heritage characteristics of Egyptian Raqs sharqi and evaluate if it can be considered heritage and how it locates itself within the field of ICH.

The sensitizing concepts and the conceptual framework derived from the literature review, have then shaped the research questions listed below.

Main Question:

  • ‘From a dialogical perspective [1], what challenges are involved in the safeguarding of Raqs sharqi as a form of transcultural, living and embodied heritage?’


The main question revolves around the safeguarding of living and embodied heritage: which obstacles we face and how can we minimize the risks and maximize the benefits? The sub-questions have been placed in a logical order.

Question 1

Question 1, deriving from the sensitizing concept of authenticity, tries to assess the identity of the object we are trying to safeguard.

Question 2

Question 2, based on the ‘uses of heritage’ sensitizing concept, tries to assess if the heritage identified is worth safeguarding and why. For example, what is the importance in people’s lives of this heritage, how does this affect their identities, their quality of life, their economic needs?

Question 3

Question 3, influenced by the living heritage model from the conceptual framework, analyses the tangible/intangible elements of heritage and how they interact (these can include the body and physical training, values, traditions, emotions, artifacts, music).

Question 4

Question 4 is inspired by the model of living heritage (which is based on a dialogical heritage paradigm and includes the agency/structure dialectic), and also by the ideas of transmission and authenticity, from the literature review.

Question 5

Question 5 is driven by the sensitizing concepts of transmission, space, time, and internationalization because transmission happens across time, space, and cultures.

Section Summary (3.9)

In this chapter, I have developed the conceptual framework for this research, based on sensitizing concepts and on questions that have emerged from the literature on dance and cultural heritage.

The process started with a critique of the tangible/intangible divide in heritage, seen as a form of dualism similar to the Cartesian opposition of body and mind.

It was then highlighted how the body is missing from the literature on heritage but is central in dance studies.

In order to resolve the dualism of tangible/intangible, understand the tradition/change dialectic and reintroduce the body in heritage, the post-dualist theories of Merleau-Ponty, Giddens, and Bourdieu have been employed.

These theoretical tools facilitated the development of a holistic and dynamic model of dance/heritage (based on a dialogical heritage paradigm), which will guide this research.

In the resulting model of living heritage, embodied people are central as they bring into heritage their culture, emotions, skills, and position in society.

Artifacts, space, and time are also part of this holistic model, which includes change through transmission across time and space, but where time is not linear and heritage is not necessarily linked to a territory.

As a result of the conceptual framework of living heritage, the questions for this research have been developed.

The next chapter discusses the methodology employed to develop the research, which will address such questions.


1 – The dialogical perspective refers to the dialogical paradigm of heritage (Bodo, 2012), discussed in 2.2.

Next Page >> Chapter 4 and the Methodological Strategy and Framework.