KF's Washington DC Center - Past Events

Meeting with author Izabela Wagner

Wednesday, April 27, 2016, at 6:00pm

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Based on two ethnographic field works conducted in several countries,dr. Wagner will present the process of career construction that was observed in two professional settings: musician virtuoso and scholars (mainly scientists from life-science area). Both social worlds are driven by individual trajectories that are stimulated by high expectations, strong professional ambition and dire competitiveness.  Collaborations and networking are the privileged ways bringing people to become the part of the elite circles in musical universe and in Academia.


What kind of mechanisms drives those specific universes? How do people get involved in internationalized and dynamic professional environment? How do they build their occupational trajectory in the highly competitive and precarious environment? How do they become the part of the elite?

These questions will be discussed mainly from the case study of violin virtuoso career construction, the topic that was the focus of Dr. Wagner's last book "Producing Excellence. The making of Virtuoso" published in 2015 by Rutgers University Press.


Izabela Wagner was born in 1964 in Poland into a family of musicians. She graduated from the University of Music in Poznan in 1987 and immigrated to France where she was a music teacher (theory, solfège, piano). In 1996, Wagner enrolled in the sociology doctoral program jointly offered by the Ecole Normale Superieur, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), and University of Paris 8, and began her ethnographic fieldwork in the world of violinists. In 2006 she defended her PhD thesis "La production sociale des violonistes virtuoses". Since 2003 she started a new fieldwork in the scientific laboratories. Her work focuses on the international mobility of life scientists.
Wagner was twice The Kosciuszko Foundation awardee: in 2010 -2011 when she was visiting scholar in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University and in 2016 - at The New School for Social Research in NYC.
In 2012 Wagner was visiting professor at Fudan University in Shanghai (China) and in 2015 visiting professor at University of Cagliari (Italy).

Since 2008, Wagner has been an associate professor at the Faculty of Philosophy and Sociology at Warsaw University in the Center for Sociology of Work and Organization.
Wagner is the author of several scholar papers and chapters in the collective books and the author of 2 books: "Becoming Transnational Professional. Kariery i mobilność polskich elit naukowych" (Scholar, 2011) and "Producing Excellence. The Making of Virtuosos" (Rutgers University Press, 2015).

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