Book review: Music Glocalization: Heritage and Innovation in a Digital Age

The aim of Music Glocalization is to provide an international readership with a collection of chapters authored by scholars on the subject of globalization, localization, and music. Globalization and localization, two opposite processes of change, can be accommodated within the framework of musical development in diverse social, technological, cultural, and national contexts. This book offers a critical study of the undertheorized concept of glocalization, intertwining the “global” and the “local” forces between music and society, both past and present. Though glocalization has received much theoretical and empirical attention in sociology and other disciplines, a grounded explication of the glocal concept is lacking in the music discipline. This book has filled that gap with its focus on international music scholarship and communication of glocalization.

The editors and their colleagues developed this book from various conferences to show how glocalization operates and what, if anything, we as listeners, consumers, performers, or composers, have to do with it from a variety of theoretical perspectives. The scope of the book is broad, ranging from theoretical reflections to more concrete opinions given by the international academic community, as well as case studies on glocalization and music. It includes 15 chapters, with relevant introductory and concluding chapters. Ranging from an array of more than ten different countries, including Australia, Japan, Indonesia, the U.S., Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Estonia, the Czech Republic, and other European nations, the book provides a fresh amalgam of perspectives that address music-related subjects. It also covers diverse topics from theoretical perspectives on local and global identities of music, art music composition in the digital age, glocalized music beyond Europe, and glocalized music professions. Contributors to the book explored interactions between music and various social phenomena in more detail to help give a better understanding of the role of music in connection with musical practices and technologies. This relationship is perceived as a dynamic interaction with new musical experiences.

This book is the first comprehensive account of how the notion of “glocalization” may be useful in rethinking nationality in music and the use of local musical traditions that serve as a means for global strategies. It reconstructs the emergence of music in the global context and provides an innovative framework for studying how glocalization transforms aesthetic hierarchies and cultural transmissions, thus breaking new ground for musicology and the sociology of music. The chapters that dig deeply into both the social phenomena and music are more balanced, in that they explore the dynamics that enable or hinder cross-cultural communication through music, as well as challenge the relationships between the producers and the consumers of music culture with a much more complicated approach to the music world.

In addition to the aforementioned contributions of this book, the concluding chapter manages to discuss the challenges of globalization from historicism and presentism. One of the major strengthens of Music Glocalization is that it clarifies and explains the varied literature circulating around the key word—music glocalization—to broaden our understanding and analysis of a wide variety of music issues. To summarize, this is an indispensable book, and I highly recommend Music Globalization for researchers, students, and libraries with a strong interest in the processes of globalization and localization, musicology, ethnomusicology, cultural studies, cultural sociology, sociology, and communication. It will also be of great interest to those in the field of international, transnational, and cosmopolitan studies.

Reviewed by Wai-Chung Ho, Hong Kong Baptist University


Music Glocalization is out now, and can be purchased directly from Cambridge Scholars by clicking here.

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