French Art film exhibition: an alternative proposal situated between
independence and dependence
Michaël Bourgatte >>> Download the communication (French)
Université d’Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse, France
In France, these last twenty years were marked by movements of ebb
and flow within the film exhibition sector, as much in terms of opening
and closing down of cinema-houses as in terms of cinema-going. The
introduction of the multiplexes at the beginning of the 1990s is
likely to be the main element which highlights this phenomenon. If
their massive setting-up allowed the French film exhibition to redistribute
and favour an increase in cinema attendance, it was done to the detriment
of a large part of the film exhibition already in place through out
In this context, the independent Art exhibition is the one which
has best adapted to the upheavals of the market, with a steady number
of cinema-theatres (a little over a thousand) oscillating between
15 % and 20 % of the total number of French screens, accouting for
15 % to 20 % of the box-office takings. This part of the French exhibition
owes its preservation to its involvement in a process of opposition
to standardization which uses targeted and organized programming
as well as intense topical activities - particularly actions to promote
and foster initiatives towards a young public - supported by the
French and European authorities and also by a large part of the audience.
The future of the film exhibition thus seems to be outlined on a "duopoly" with,
on the one hand, the big commercial film complexes and on the other,
the independent arthouse cinemas. The latter exhibit auteur films
and movies from countries with a low film production. They also try
to improve the visibility of the most experimental cinematographies.
Lastly, they organize activities and support the development of educational
policies in cinema toward audiences. So, we can truly speak about
an "alternative proposal", a term that we can substitute
for the expression "Art cinema" which is marked more by
a form a subjective judgment.
This alternative type of exhibition exists in dialectics stamped
at the same time by a claimed independence and by forms of dependence.
Despite of a real dependence on the governmental or European policies
and on networkings, it could be indeed that we are sliding gradually
into a relation of interdependence regarding the increasing public
responsibilities assigned to the Art cinema-houses.
Besides, this part of the French exhibition seems to depend more
than ever on the audience loyalty which it generated. However, studies
reveal the existence of groups of spectators organized around customs,
codes and practices and who thus feel linked to this exhibition segment.
On the one hand, the love and the knowledge of the types of films
screened in these arthouse cinemas, the respect of certain principles
(like seeing movies with the original soundtrack) or the feeling
of wellbeing that is generated there lead most of them to remain
attached to a particular Art movie-theatre. On the other hand, they
all declare that an outing depends strictly on a conscious desire
to do things together and to feel and to share effects felt by other
bodies. The majority of the spectators thus develop forms of expectations
and relationships with other spectators in a giving cinema-theatre.
So, all these investigations lead us to notice a relation of interdependence
between a place and its audience.
Seen in the Hegelian
meaning of the word.
are based on four investigative methods : information retrieval
and statistical analysis of qualitative and quantitative data
(questionnaires, interviews and observation).
«Challenging the majors’ supremacy
music productions from Scotland and the Netherlands on the global
Erik Hitters, Miriam Van de Kamp
Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, Pays-Bas
Université de Leiden, University College In Holland Haarlem,
Theories concerning the cultural industries generally assume that
the global cultural flow of music is controlled by major record companies
operating from central nodes within the global network. They have
competitive advantages in scale, marketing and production power.
From this point of view, opportunities for smaller music labels and
popular music from relative small countries are too limited to be
internationally successful. This paper investigates specific developments
that presently undercut this logic.
Usually independent labels are embedded in one way or another into
the structure of the majors. In this relationship the majors provide
the international distribution while the independents are a source
for potentially successful acts. Nowadays however, within the rock
and dance music sector, some independent music companies are successfully
marketing and distributing their acts themselves. Consequently, these
independent music companies are not formally related to the majors.
This suggests a new phase in the development of the relationship
between majors and independents.
This paper maps the different stages of the development of the relationship
between majors and independents in the music sector. Scottish rock
act Franz Ferdinand and Dutch DJ Tiësto will be described as
examples of successful acts from independent companies. The paper
will furthermore emphasize the role of the internet and networks
in the operation of these independent labels.
The empirical base of this paper are export data of music from the
Netherlands, market data for the Dutch and Scottish music industry
and interviews with representatives of the Dutch and Scottish music
sector. These data are analyzed in order to support our assumption
that there is a new phase in the development of the relationship
between majors and independents. The different stages of this development
will be illustrated by using secondary analyses of data and publications
on market and organizational structures in the contemporary music
« Majors, independents and alternative
changes in the relations between actors in the book sector.
An international approach »
Bertrand Legendre >>> Download the communication (French)
Université Paris 13 – LAbSIC - MSH Paris Nord, France
This presentation claims to find out to what extent the mutations
that took place in the recent years (technologies, financiarisation,
concentration, globalisation) lead to reconsider the representation
and the exchanges that take place in the book business.
Our first observation is that the classical insight of « the
oligopoly and the ant’s nest » is far from accounting
for a situation that cannot be restricted to the mechanism of a very
small amount of very big actors dominating a very big amount of small
structures. If differences in size do exist, it is nevertherless
flagrant that identical approaches and aspirations are partly
shared both by the majors and by some « independents.»
A second observation is that a great number of new publishing structures
choose to stay totally aside of the professionnal boards and partnerships,
thus bringing up the question of the articulation between the
dominant part of the book business and its own « fringe ».
Those two observations bring along a reflexion on the ability
of resistance and renewal attributed to the new publishers. If, in
the past, we have seen in publishing houses as Minuit, La Découverte,
Le Seuil, and in the men who were in charge of those structures,
the expression of such an ability, we can’t, consider the alliance
formed some time ago to prevent the purchase of Vivendi by Hachette
as anything else than a fleeting solidarity, some editors sharing
at the time the same interests. Likewise, it seems that for the new
generation of publishers, the critics are ownly made against the
structural and economic mutations of the book business, whithout
ever taking in consideration the political function of a post modern
«Music industry at the dawn
of the 21st century: new uses, new exchanges? »
Jacob T. Matthews >>> Download the communication (French)
Université Michel de Montaigne - Bordeaux 3, France
This presentation draws from recent research on contemporary popular
music, exploring the relationship between mainstream and underground,
from the point of view of music industry’s “traditional” production
and distribution structures, as well as from that of digital networks
dedicated to musical creation and distribution. It thus seeks to
contribute to a greater understanding of changes in uses and practices
in these various fields, whilst questioning the importance of underlying
ideological processes which characterize the contemporary music industry
First shall be presented the results of a series of empirical studies
conducted over the past five years, regarding discourses and representations
conveyed within alternative musical circles, as well as
among mainstream protagonists of the phonographic industry. These
studies point to strong convergences in the ideological productions
of the diverse social actors mobilised in this field. This phenomenon
can be related to the process by which these various actors’ traditional
functions and statutes have become less clearly defined; the opposition
between broadcasters and receivers, producers and consumers, being
replaced by the figure of the “mediator”.
To fully understand what might be at stake behind these “mediations”,
rather than emphasizing on the new possibilities digital ICTs supposedly
offer in terms of self-promotion and self-production, it seems worthwhile
to consider the way in which an increasing number of individual and
collective uses of these ICTs – digital music sharing networks,
for instance – contribute to the creation of new exchange values
that the socio-economical system, as a whole, demands in order to
Moreover, one can underline a significant number of trends which
seem to indicate that the material decentralisation – observable,
for example, with the development of new modes of distribution via
P2P networks (to the detriment of traditional retail structures) – is
accompanied by a greater ideological centralisation; the “active” participation
of user-mediators becoming just as vital a condition for the development
of music industry as media promotion and top-down marketing strategies.
Lastly, turning back to alternative circles, this contribution
to the debate will consider the notion of “improbable use” in
the context of cultural emergences. In what respect do present underground hives
contribute to the creation of new social uses – or, to put
it in somewhat unfashionable terms, new use values – which
might durably opt-out of the dual dominant trends of commoditisation
and cultural institutionalisation? Likewise, one might consider how
uses in marginal musical scenes (and their ICT extensions) actually
participate in the auto-regulation of a music industry “system” of
which they may well be intrinsically constitutive, themselves.
«Small independent publishers
versus the large groups; or, the refusal of cultural standardization»
EHESS – CSE, Paris, France
>>> Download the communication (French)
A new “generation” of small, independent presses have
emerged in France in the late 80s and 90s, specializing in the field
of social sciences with a distinctive critical edge. La Fabrique,
La Dispute, Agone, Le passant ordinaire, Raisons d’agir… are
some of the names which have made their way into bookshops. While
this is not an historically new phenomenon – processes of creation/destruction
of small companies have always characterized the publishing industry – it
is taking place against a backdrop of increasing consolidation and
rationalization of the publishing field, coupled with the seemingly
decreasing autonomy of the publishing world vis à vis the
economic field. Although financially fragile, these small presses’symbolic
clout is far more significant than their actual economic weight and
they epitomize the contradictions of publishing between « art
and money », between commerce and culture.
As the French market becomes increasingly polarized between two
dominant players and a handful of average-size publishers which can
rely on efficient distribution structures, the situation of these
small publishers may seem uncomfortable. However, if “self-exploitation” and
unpaid work often characterize their activity, they also rely on
important assets such as a still dynamic network of independent bookshops,
subsidies from various State and regional bodies, and the development
of direct sales via the Internet.
This presentation will be based on in-depth interviews and
research on a selection of 20 or so editors, booksellers and distributors.
It is intended to map out some aspects of the French publishing field
in order to understand how small presses position themselves vis à vis
the bigger groups while trying to assert a “different” way
of doing business, which I will try to define by paying attention
to the interplay of economic and symbolic capital.
What are the specific constraints these publishers have to face?
What practices and strategies are they implementing in order to survive?
These are some of the questions that this paper will try to address.