After reading the book in one sitting I was completely taken by Dujovne´s approach to this cultural phenomenon and decided to make it a requirement in my classes. This is a truly outstanding book, and an equally outstanding resource for teaching a vast array of topics in the social sciences.
Devoid of the excessive and discouraging academic lingo of other books which attempt to give an account of the same phenomenon, In Strangers´ Arms accomplishes something remarkable nowadays: it grabs the attention and connects readers with no direct stakes or interests in Argentine Tango by the sheer sake of how Dujovne masterfully presents the subject. We can take her contribution as a two-fold achievement: firstly, the unique contribution to the understanding of tango per se, with a degree of subtlety, nuance, elegance, historical data, and socio-cultural insights which puts this oeuvre in a league of its own; secondly, the author approaches the subject from a perspective that lends itself incredibly naturally to the study of topics such as identity in the contemporary world, complex emotions, globalization, arts, and culture.
As an anthropologist I would like to comment on a true theoretical and methodological breakthrough in the book, which is the substitution of the useless, misleading, and charged concept of “the other” for that of “the stranger”. The creation and naturalization of the concept of “the other” did more harm than good in cross-cultural studies because it reinforced the idea of difference to a distressing and dangerous degree. I subscribe to Dujovne´s concept of “the strange” in contexts that go beyond tango, and beyond Buenos Aires, because it alludes to “the unknown”, instead of to “the different”. And with this idea alone I spent weeks discussing and brainstorming about cultural stereotypes and cross-cultural issues with my students. They engaged in the discussions with a degree of passion and enthusiasm that I had not seen in over 15 years of teaching.