1st Edition

Transnational Musicians Precariousness, Ethnicity and Gender in the Creative Industry

By Beata M. Kowalczyk Copyright 2021
    204 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    204 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Informed by theories pertaining to transnational mobility, ethnicity and race, gender, postcolonialism, as well as Japanese studies, Transnational Musicians explores the way Japanese musicians establish their transnational careers in the hierarchically structured classical music world.

    Drawing on rich material from multi-sited fieldwork and in-depth interviews with Japanese artists in Japan, France and Poland, this study portrays the structurally – and individually – conditioned opportunities and constraints of becoming a transnational classical musician. It shows how transnational artists strive to conciliate the irreconcilable: their professional identification with the dominant image of ‘rootless’ classical musicianship and their ethnocultural affiliation with Japan. As such this book critically engages with the neoliberal discourse on talent and meritocracy prevailing in the creative/cultural industry, which promotes the common image of cosmopolitan artists, whose high, universal skills allow them to carry out their occupational activity internationally, regardless of such prescriptive criteria as gender, ethnicity and race.

    Highly interdisciplinary, this book will appeal to students and researchers interested in such fields as migration, transnational mobility, ethnicity and race in the creative/cultural sector, gender studies, Japanese culture and other related social issues. It will also be instructive for professionals from the world of classical music, as well as ordinary readers passionate about Japanese society.


    1. Theoretical and Methodological Approach

    2. Positioning Japanese Classical Music within the Global Hierarchy of Value

    3. The Plight of Musician in Japan

    4. Studying Classical Music in its ‘Birthplace’: The Japanese go to Europe

    5. Music Knows No Borders? Crisscrossing French, Polish and Japanese Music Milieus

    6. Japanese Classical Musicians: Between Professional Satisfaction and Frustration

    Concluding Remarks: Transnationality as a ‘Liminal status quo’


    Beata M. Kowalczyk is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Sociology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland.