Puro, Jondo and Por Derecho: Shifting Linguistic Practices of Flamenco Communities in Spain

Author: Marta Wieczorek (Zayed University, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Speaker: Marta Wieczorek
Topic: Language Ideologies
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL COMELA 2021 General Session


The flamenco landscape in Spain presents a visible spatial division between inherently commercial places and those designed for intimate flamenco experiences. The latter gather aficionados who articulate and endorse values of flamenco “purity”, and its rootedness in genuinely Andalusian components. Members of such communities often verbalize their disregard for more popular venues, which are intrinsically available for touristic consumption. The disparity between these types of places is further reinforced by the entanglement of flamenco communities in the linguistic ideology of purism and authenticity. Linguistic practices reinforce the nature and identity of these venues by referring to flamenco practiced there as jondo (“deep”), puro (“pure”) or por derecho de la sangre (“by right of blood”). This linguistic distinction is intertwined with the identification of such aficionados as guardians of flamenco’s integrity, providers of genuine, exclusive, intimate and unadulterated experiences. The gradual, conspicuous process of recognizing flamenco as an increasingly global phenomenon calls for the reevaluation of the concept of authenticity and purity as associated with values of exclusivity, privacy, intimacy, privateness or even seclusion. The language of “true”, “authentic”, “genuine” flamenco has been reaching venues offering unadulterated flamenco experiences while the nature of these non-Andalusian venues is not necessarily exclusive and private. The goal of this paper is to look at the linguistic practices of preserving flamenco “exclusivity” and to recognize the shifting linguistic boundeness of flamenco communities vis-à-vis the global popularity of flamenco.

Keywords: flamenco, Spain, identity, community