Home Institution

Manchester University

Publication Date

Spring 2014

Program Name

Senegal: National Identity and the Arts


Senegal remains one of the more peaceful, stable countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with little to no ethnic conflict or racial tension. Numerous social factors are credited with promoting this peace, ranging from political decisions to friendly jokes between different ethnic groups. Some artists claim that dance promotes positive relations between ethnicities; however, little to no academic literature reflects this social dynamic. Thus I have used formal interviews, informal interviews, observation, and participant observation to explore if Senegalese dance serves to promote peace between ethnic groups and, if so, why it has the power to serve this purpose. Through connecting the ideas of participants with observations of dances, I discerned that traditional Senegalese dance promotes peaceful relationships between ethnicities. This is due to widely-held associations with traditional dance, themes that emphasize commonality in humanity, and the effects of directly articulating dance as a peacebuilding art form.


Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Peace and Conflict Studies | Race and Ethnicity | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Social Psychology and Interaction


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