Unplanned Coordination: Ensemble Improvisation as Collective Action

Journal of Social Ontology 7 (2):143-172 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The characteristic features of ensemble dance improvisation (EDI) make it an interesting case for theories of intentional collective action. These features include the high degree of freedom enjoyed by each individual, and the lack of fixed hierarchical roles, rigid decision procedures, or detailed plans. In this article, we present a “reductive” approach to collective action, apply it to EDI, and show how the theory enriches our perspective on this practice. We show, with the help of our theory of collective action, that EDI (as typically practiced) constitutes a significant collective achievement, one that manifests an impressive, spontaneous, jointly cooperative and individually highly autonomous activity that meets demanding aesthetic standards. Its being good in this way is not a mere extrinsic feature of the artwork, but part of its aesthetic value. We end by discussing how this value is easily missed by classic aesthetics, but is revealed by more contemporary frameworks like social aesthetics.

Similar books and articles

Unintentional Collective Action.Sara Rachel Chant - 2007 - Philosophical Explorations 10 (3):245 – 256.
The Concept of Action and the Relevance of Intentional Collective Action in History.Doris Gerber - forthcoming - New Content is Available for Journal of the Philosophy of History.
Collective Emotions and Joint Action.Salmela Mikko & Nagatsu Michiru - 2016 - Journal of Social Ontology 2 (1):33-57.
Collective Rationality and Collective Reasoning.Adam Morton - 2003 - Philosophical Review 112 (1):118-120.
Rationality in Collective Action.Margaret Gilbert - 2006 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 36 (1):3-17.
An Integral Model of Collective Action in Organizations and Beyond.Lu Tang - 2008 - Journal of Business Ethics 80 (2):249-261.
Social Facts Explained and Presupposed.Boris Hennig - 2006 - In Nikos Psarros & Katinka Schulte-Ostermann (eds.), Facets of Sociality. Ontos Verlag.
Collective Intentionality.Marija Jankovic & Kirk Ludwig - 2016 - In Lee McIntyre & Alex Rosenberg (eds.), The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Social Science. New York: Routledge. pp. 214-227.


Added to PP

139 (#88,619)

6 months
10 (#79,672)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Ali Hasan
University of Iowa

References found in this work

Collective Intentions and Actions.John Searle - 1990 - In Philip R. Cohen Jerry Morgan & Martha Pollack (eds.), Intentions in Communication. MIT Press. pp. 401-415.
On Social Facts.Margaret Gilbert - 1989 - Ethics 102 (4):853-856.

View all 20 references / Add more references