Distinctive culture: framing flamenco artistry in Polígono Sur: El arte de Las Tres Mil by Dominique Abel

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This article investigates how artistic, cultural and urban distinctiveness is constructed in Dominique Abel’s film Polígono Sur: El arte de Las Tres Mil. The article introduces Abel’s film into a wider debate about the potential of flamenco as a factor of cultural promotion for one of Spain’s most notorious and stigmatized urban areas. Using this wider context as a starting point, the essay deploys Pierre Bourdieu’s writings on distinction and taste to analyze how the polígono and flamenco artistry become multilayered points of reference that foster the creation and negotiation of distinctions from different perspectives throughout Abel’s film. Firstly, I attend to the film’s treatment of a concert that is organized as a promotional activity for Polígono Sur. Secondly, by attending to nonverbal performances and practices, I discuss how the film stages flamenco as a form of everyday artistry with relevant historical resonances. Thirdly, I show how the polígono emerges as a marker of positive distinction that motivates a specific circulation of affects within the artistic community of Polígono Sur. In sum, this article provides different readings of the ways in which distinctive musical qualities interact dialectically with socioeconomic marginality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-189
JournalJournal of Spanish Cultural Studies
Issue number2
Early online date4 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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