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Master Thesis

La scène comme rideau de fumée. Définir et comprendre l'activité d'underground idols de Tokyo à partir d'une enquête de terrain

Abstract : This master thesis is based on an ethnographic survey I conducted in Tokyo, Japan between 2017 and 2018. By doing a participant observations during one year in a live-house in the Akihabara district, I came in contact with a universe little known by academia and the Japanese studies field: the underground idols. My master thesis is composed of five chapters. The first two chapters focus on the presentation of my meth-odology and my reflexivity. My choice to conduct an ethnographic survey isexplained by my disciplinary anchorage in social anthropology, which mixes the theoretical approaches of sociology to explain societies, and the methods of anthropology to investigate. I therefore conducted the survey using two classic tools of anthropology: participant observation and semi-structured interviews. Although the efforts I have put to build my theoretical foundations, the reality of the field turned out to be more difficult than I could excepted. This is why I have decided to conduct an analysis of these difficulties, to understand what they can teach us about my field and the tensions that run through it. To complete this work, a reflective development was also necessary. Through the latter, I managed to complete my analysis and add some knowledge in an epistemological reflection that is still running in my discipline: what influences does the researcher's social identity have on his field, and can this prevent him from carrying out the investigation? The second part of my dissertation is dedicated to a State of the Art on the definition of the category idols, and the place of this activity in the contemporary Japanese society. My respondents are indeed treated as “artists” in this category by the available literature, but the definition of the former remains unclear. In the light of the definitional work carried out, the observations made on my respondents do not correspond much to the definition of the idols. There are still grey areas. How can this be explained? To answer to this question, I propose to mobilise the sociology of work in order to go beyond the very conception of "artist” activity as it is used by and about my respondents. Luc Boltanski's work on French executives ("cadres") I use help to makes a comparison that informs us about the reasons and the strategies that a professional group can deploy to build and preserve its professional legitimacy and its identity. In the last chapter, I propose to put into perspective the situation of my respondents and their working conditions. Those are characterised by a form of professional insecurity due to the absence of legal and social protection, in relation to the French, English and Japanese scientific literature available on this subject. I thus show that my respondents are in line with the trends observed in recent years in the development of precarious employment, which mainly concerns young women with a low level of education. My respondents condition lies in the fact that employment is more conceived as a form of self-entrepreneurship which is part of a growing liberal logic throughout the world: it is up to the individual to take his or her destiny into his or her own hands... and to assume his or her own situation in case of failure. Yet, there are strategies used to lessen the risks faced by the underground idols , and that I analyse through the examples of four of them.
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Submitted on : Thursday, February 10, 2022 - 9:41:51 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, May 5, 2022 - 3:11:43 AM
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Pierre-Jean Colas. La scène comme rideau de fumée. Définir et comprendre l'activité d'underground idols de Tokyo à partir d'une enquête de terrain. Anthropologie sociale et ethnologie. 2021. ⟨dumas-03563940⟩



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