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Infinite RepertoireOn Dance and Urban Possibility in Postsocialist Guinea$
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Adrienne J. Cohen

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780226762845

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226781167.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

Why Authority Needs Magic

Why Authority Needs Magic

(p.31) 1 Why Authority Needs Magic
Infinite Repertoire

Adrienne J. Cohen

University of Chicago Press

Chapter one explores ballet’s history of cohabitation with state power, and shows how Guinea’s socialist state demanded loyalty, but also depended on the sincerity and spontaneity of artists’ performances to win the hearts and minds of spectators. This chapter lays the groundwork for understanding the connection between aesthetics, magic, and politics in Guinea, and complicates any simple dichotomy between authoritarianism and creative freedom. Performing artists in socialist Guinea navigated a contradiction at the heart of all modernizing projects: that ideals of creativity and reason are in tension with the political authority of the modern state. How they chose to engage that tension exemplifies broader negotiations between creativity and authority that have had ramifying consequences in Guinean society into the present.

Keywords:   Guinea, socialism, authority, authoritarianism, performing artists, creative freedom

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