What do people do in the face of violence, war and tragedy? How do those touched by violence survive, live on, keep on going and feeling? What if “dance first, think later” IS the natural order in? In this paper I propose dancing as an everyday, embodied and multisensorial register of war. Bringing together critical interventions on war, politics and emotions (e.g. Choi 2013; Hutchison and Bleiker 2014, Welland 2018, Lisle, 2016) and the interdisciplinary field of dance studies (Kowal, Siegmund, and Martin 2017), this paper explores the entanglements between sites of political violence, militarism and dance electronic music and culture drawing upon my research in Bosnia and Northern Ireland. I start from the premise that these unseen entanglements amplify our knowledge about complicated histories of conflict and the operations of martial politics: they reveal complex lived, emotional, and embodied experiences intrinsic to the politics of conflict and violence, intricate layers in the affective politics of resistance and the reproduction of military sensibilities and global disparities in its midst. I propose dancing as a critical and creative method that dispels war’s totalising shadows and opens opportunities to feel, write and inhabit IR differently.
Dr Maria Adriana Deiana is a Lecturer in International Relations at Queens University Belfast and is co-director of the Centre for Gender in Politics. She has conducted research on the post-Yugoslav space, the politics of Northern Ireland, EU border politics and security. Her work has been published in peer-reviewed journals, including Citizenship studies, Peacebuilding, Geopolitics and the Journal of Narrative Politics. Her monograph titled 'Gender and Citizenship: Promises of Peace in Post-Dayton Bosnia & Herzegovina' was published by Palgrave in 2018.