Dr Luis-Manuel Garcia-Mispireta PhD

Photograph of Dr Luis-Manuel Garcia

Department of Music
Associate Professor in Ethnomusicology and Popular Music Studies

Contact details

Bramall Hall, Room 214
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I research electronic dance music scenes (e.g., house, techno, etc.), with a special focus on issues of affect, sexuality, tourism, and the creative industries. My ethnographic fieldwork focuses primarily on Berlin, Germany.


  • PhD University of Chicago (Ethnomusicology)
  • MA University of Toronto (Musicology)
  • BMus University of Toronto (Music History & Culture)


Luis-Manuel Garcia is a Lecturer in Ethnomusicology and Popular Music Studies at the University of Birmingham. His research focuses on urban electronic dance music scenes, with a particular focus on affect, intimacy, stranger-sociability, embodiment, sexuality, creative industries and musical migration. He is currently conducting a research project on ‘techno-tourism’ and musical mobility in Berlin while preparing a book manuscript, Together Somehow: Music, Affect, and Intimacy on the Dancefloor.


Previous academic positions include: Lecturer / Assistant Professor in Music at the University of Groningen (Arts, Culture, and Media / KCM department); Postdoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Human Development (History of Emotions research cluster); Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Berlin Program for German and European Studies, Free University of Berlin.


Modules taught:

  • Globalization and Musical Mobility
  • Festival Studies
  • Electronic Music Studies 
  • Fieldwork Methods 
  • Global Popular Music Studies
  • Introduction to Musicology
  • Critical Musicology
  • Medieval and Renaissance Music

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Garcia is happy to discuss potential supervision with postgraduate candidates pursuing ethnographic research on topics relating to electronic dance music, affect, tourism and migration, sound studies, gender/sexuality, queer theory, creative industries, and projects relating to the music of Birmingham.

Find out more - our Music postgraduate study  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My research focuses on the global network of electronic dance music scenes (e.g., house, disco, techno, and so on), with Berlin as my primary site of fieldwork.

My first research project, Together, Somehow: Music, Intimacy, and Affect on the Dance Floor, is in its final stages, focusing on embodied stranger-intimacy at dance music events and the role that music and affect play in sustaining a sense of vague-but-meaningful belonging among dancers. This project was a multi-local study, based on fieldwork conducted in Chicago, Paris, and Berlin over the period of several years (2006-2010).

‘Techno Tourism’ is the focus of my second research project. This project studies the patterns of regular travel that bring fans and professionals to Berlin’s local electronic music scenes. Increasingly, this project is also examining music-driven migration to Berlin and electronic music’s role in the expanding ‘creative industries’ of the city.

In addition to these projects, I conduct research and write about music festivals, fieldwork methodology, sonic grain/texture, sound studies, and queer theory.

PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT & IMPACT: Through writing and public speaking, I strive to reach audiences beyond academia; as an ethnographer, I feel an ethical responsibility to ensure that the musical communities I study have the opportunity to access, respond to, and make use of my research. These efforts include several articles for Resident Advisor, the foremost online magazine for electronic music, as well as UK-based lifestyle periodical CRACK Magazine. I have been invited to speak at international music-industry events such as Club Transmediale (Berlin) and Amsterdam Dance Event, and my research has been the subject of in-depth interviews by the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, the Swiss Neue Zürcher Zeitung, and Resident Advisor’s ‘Exchange’ podcast series

PRACTICE AS RESEARCH: I am also committed to practice-intensive research, blending fieldwork, artistic practice, community engagement, and collaborative knowledge production. This commitment has driven my involvement in “La Mission” (an alternative, queer, Latinx, D.I.Y. art collective based in Berlin) and in “Room 4 Resistance” (an inclusive, political, women-led electronic music collective). Room 4 Resistance organizes dance music events that showcase femme-identified, trans, non-binary, queer, Black, Brown, and post-migrant artists while cultivating a safer space for marginalized dancers.


Highlight publications

Garcia, L-M 2018, Whose refuge, this house? the estrangement of queers of color in electronic dance music. in FE Maus & S Whiteley (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Music and Queerness. Oxford University Press, Oxford. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199793525.013.49

Garcia, L-M 2016, 'Beats, flesh, and grain: sonic tactility and affect in electronic dance music', Sound Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 59–76. https://doi.org/10.1080/20551940.2015.1079072

Garcia, L-M 2016, 'Techno-Tourism and Postindustrial Neo-Romanticism in Berlin's Electronic Dance Music Scenes', Tourist Studies, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 276-295. https://doi.org/10.1177/1468797615618037

Garcia, L-M 2018, ‘With Every Inconceivable Finesse, Excess, and Good Music’: Sex, Affect, and Techno at Snax Club in Berlin. in N Gregor & T Irvine (eds), Dreams of Germany: Musical Imaginaries from the Concert Hall to the Dance Floor. Berghahn Books Inc., New York, pp. 73-96. <https://www.berghahnbooks.com/title/GregorDreams>

Garcia, L-M 2018, 'Agonistic festivities: urban nightlife scenes and the sociability of ‘anti-social’ fun', Annals of Leisure Research, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 462-479. https://doi.org/10.1080/11745398.2017.1398097

Recent publications


Garcia, LM 2023, Together, Somehow: Music, Affect, and Intimacy on the Dancefloor. Duke University Press. <https://www.dukeupress.edu/together-somehow>


Garcia, LM 2024, 'Community Building from The Bottoms Up: Participatory / Co-Creative Research with Berlin’s Queer Nightlife Collectives', Mediapolis: A Journal of Cities and Culture, vol. 2, no. 9. <https://www.mediapolisjournal.com/2024/06/bottoms-up/>

Garcia, L-M 2020, 'Feeling the vibe: sound, vibration, and affective attunement in electronic dance music scenes', Ethnomusicology Forum, pp. 21–39. https://doi.org/10.1080/17411912.2020.1733434

Garcia, L-M 2015, 'At home, I'm a tourist: Musical migration and affective citizenship in Berlin', Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, vol. 2, no. 1+2, pp. 121-134. https://doi.org/10.1386/jucs.2.1-2.121_1

Petiau, A 2015, 'Free parties et teknivals: Dans les marges du marché et de l’état, système de don et participation', Dancecult, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 116-128. https://doi.org/10.12801/1947-5403.2014.06.02.01


Garcia, L-M 2019, The queer concerns of nightlife fieldwork. in G Barz & W Cheng (eds), Queering the field: sounding out ethnomusicology. Oxford University Press, pp. 337-354.

Book/Film/Article review

Garcia, L-M 2018, 'Review: Gavin Steingo, Kwaito's Promise: Music and the Aesthetics of Freedom in South Africa (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016), ISBN 978-0-226-36240-3 (hb), ISBN 978-0-226-36254-0 (pb)', Twentieth-Century Music, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 309-316. https://doi.org/10.1017/S147857221800018X

Garcia, L-M 2014, 'Attias, Bernardo, Anna Gavanas, and Hillegonda Rietveld, DJ Culture in the mix: Power, Technology, and Social Change in Electronic Dance Music', The World of Music, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 151-155. <https://www.jstor.org/stable/24318183>

Entry for encyclopedia/dictionary

Buda, D, Martini, A & Garcia, L-M 2017, Qualitative Tourism Research. in L Lowry (ed.), The SAGE International Encyclopedia of Travel and Tourism. SAGE Publications. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781483368924.n367

Featured article

Garcia, L-M 2014, 'A pre-history of the electronic music festival' Resident Advisor.

Garcia, L-M 2014, 'An alternate history of sexuality in club culture' Resident Advisor.


Garcia, L-M & Buda, D 2015, ''Moving (in) Feeling': Affective Theories in Sound and Tourism'. <http://www.affecttheorymu.com/>

Other contribution

Garcia, LM 2024, From the Bottoms Up: Berlin Queer Nightlife & Community Organising..


Garcia, L-M & LaBelle, B, An/Aesthetics: A Lecture-Performance, 2014, Performance.

Web publication/site

Garcia, L-M, Drugs policies and electronic music culture, 2016, Web publication/site, Resident Advisor Ltd.. <https://www.residentadvisor.net/features/2577>

View all publications in research portal


Nightlife regulation, drugs policy and local urban impact

Tourism driven by dance music - focusing on Berlin

Issues of sexuality, gender, and BAME groups in dance music communities