Today, an increasing number of people from all over the world travel to Buenos Aires to dance tango. To accommodate these intimate voyagers, tourist agencies offer travel packages, including classes in tango instruction, dance shoe shopping, and special city maps pointing out the tango clubs in town. Some of these agencies even provide “taxi dancers” — mainly Argentine men, who make a living by selling themselves as dance escorts to foreign women on a short term stay. Based on a cheek-to-cheek ethnography of intimate life in the tango clubs of Buenos Aires, this book provides a passionate exploration of tango — its sentiments and symbolic orders — as well as a critical investigation of the effects of globalization on intimate economies. Throughout the chapters, the author assesses how, in an explosive economic and political context, people’s emotional lives intermingle with a tourism industry that has formed at the intersection of close embrace dances and dollars. Bringing economies of intimacy centre stage, the book describes how a global condition is lived bodily, emotionally and politically, and offers a rich, provocative contribution to theorizing today’s global flows of people, money, and fragile dreams. As the narrative charts a course across a sea of intense, immediate emotional sensations, taken-for-granted ideas about sex, romance and power twist and turn like the steps of the tango.
New York: Routledge, 2013.