Macquarie University
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Deterritorializing gender in Sydney's breakdancing scene: a B-girl's experience of B-boying

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posted on 2022-03-28, 12:49 authored by Rachael Louise Gunn
This thesis critically interrogates how masculinist practices of breakdancing offers a site for the transgression of gendered norms. Drawing on my own experiences as a female within the male-dominated breakdancing scene in Sydney, first as a spectator, then as an active crew member, this thesis questions why so few female participants engage in this creative space, and how breakdancing might be the space to displace and deterritorialise gender. I use analytic autoetthnography and interviews with scene members in collaboration with theoretical frameworks offered by Deleuze and Guttari, Butler, Bourdieu and other feminist and post-structuralist philosophers, to critically examine how the capacities of bodies are constituted and shaped in Sydney's breakdancing scene, and to also locate the potentiality for moments of transgression. In other words, I conceptualize the breaking body as not a 'body' constituted through regulations and assumptions, but as an assemblage open to new rhizomatic connections. Breaking is a space that embraces difference, whereby the rituals of the dance not only augment its capacity to deterritorialize the body, but also facilitate new possibilities for performativities beyond the confines of dominant modes of thought and normative gender construction. Consequently, this thesis attempts to contribute to what I perceive as a significant gap in scholarship on hip-hop, breakdancing, and autoethnographic explorations of Deleuze-Guattarian theory.


Table of Contents

Abstract -- Candidate declaration -- Acknowledgements -- Introduction. Where it all began -- Chapter 1. Analysing the breaking 'body' in Sydney -- Chapter 2. Mapping the Hip-Hop assemblage -- Chapter 3. The politics of dancing bodies -- Chapter 4. Just a (B-) girl ' : policing gendered transgressions -- Chapter 5. (De) locating (De)territorializations in the breaking assemblage -- Chapter 6. Potentiality of breaking: people to come -- Conclusion looking to the future -- References - Discography -- Videography -- Appendices


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 285-336

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts , Department of Media, Music, Communications and Cultural Studies

Department, Centre or School

Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Diane Hughes

Additional Supervisor 1

Kate Rossmanith

Additional Supervisor 2

John Scannell


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