From tourism to solidarity: transnational feminism and world music in the UK

James Nissen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transnational feminism has become a prevalent paradigm in feminist theory, but its connection with creative practices such as music remains unclear. This article addresses the relationship between music, culture and feminism and considers the extent to which world music creates spaces for transnational feminist praxis. Applying Chandra Mohanty’s ‘tourism’, ‘exploration’ and ‘solidarity’ models for internationalising feminism, I question whose feminism is performed and negotiated at WOMAD, one of the most influential international music festivals in Europe. I argue that world music encounters have the potential to both help and hinder the cause of feminism across borders as music can reinforce and resist power inequalities between women from different places and cultures and intercultural music encounters can create the conditions for locating transnational feminist discourse within specific struggles and working through the mutualities and tensions between different feminisms. In doing so, I seek to show the value of bridging feminist geography and musicology, as the former can be used to critically analyse the plurality of feminisms at play in musical contexts, while the latter can illustrate how transnational feminist work is being undertaken outside the explicitly political realm and how expressive means of communication may disrupt assumptions about empowering/disempowering feminisms and exemplify the complex intersections between feminism, place and culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
JournalGender, Place & Culture
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2022


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