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Classy performances : the performance of class in the Andalusian bullfight from horseback (rejoneo)
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 authored by Kirrilly ThompsonKirrilly Thompson
The bullfight from horseback (rejoneo) has been consistently described as a pastime of the upper class Andalusian elite. This is hardly surprising, given that many notable rejoneadores (mounted bullfighters) have been associated with the agrarian elite and share features of the upper class identified in early ethnographies such as socio-political influence and land ownership. However, this paper questions the extent to which all rejoneadores articulate socio-economic determinants of the upper class. To account for the diversity in socio-economic background and identity amongst rejoneadores, I turn to more postmodern approaches applying performativity to class (Wiseman-Trowse; Rottenberg). By considering the material and symbolic role of bullfighting horses, I also highlight the role of human–animal relations in class constructions and perceptions. I suggest that rejoneo can be usefully considered a performance of the upper class, rather than necessarily a performance by the upper class. This case study demonstrates the need for researchers to be critical of “insider” constructions of class as well as “outsider” or academic assessments, and to pay equal attention to elite and popular forms.