International conference organised by MSH Paris Nord, MSH des Alpes, MSH d'Aquitaine, MSH de Paris, MSH Nord-Pas de Calais
and Gricis Université du Québec à Montréal, within the ACI programme
« Les mutations des industries de la culture, de l’information et de la communication : bilan, cartographie, observation ».
  Workshop 2.1 - Workshop 2.2 - Workshop 2.3 - Workshop 2.4 - Workshop 2.5
Workshop 2.2 The evolution of international cultural exchanges
  Chairman :
- Gilles Pronovost, University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières, Canada

Speakers :
France Aubin, UQAM, Montréal, Canada
« Intellectuals and the public sphere  »

Anaïs Bokobza, CNRS, Centre de Sociologie Européenne, Paris, France
«The translation of Italian literature in France : from romanticized representations to the dominance of a commercial logic»

Stéphane Dorin, Université Paris 13, EHESS, CNRS, France
« Culture, globalization and communication: contemporary theoretical perspectives »
>>> Download the communication (French)

Elodie Kredens, Université Lyon 3, France
«The Reality Television’s paradox : from homogenization to heterogeneization, adaptability of the formats and local adaptations »
>>> Download the communication (French)

Michael Palmer, Université Paris 3, France
«Press Agencies, search engines, internationalization and the formatting of information»
>>> Download the communication (French)


« Intellectuals and the public sphere »

France Aubin
UQAM, Montréal, Canada

In order to study « squatting public sphere » strategies used by intellectuals who critiqued globalisation, we examined organisational, discursive and publishing strategies (including various formats and types of media). An intellectual has been defined as a person a) who is renown b) who intervenes in the public sphere c) about social or political issues d) with an explicit ideological point of view (taking a stance).  The twenty persons that were interviewed share more or less the same explicit point of view since they had all critiqued globalisation. Thirteen are Europeans (Belgians or French) and seven are Quebeckers. Most of them are university teachers: they teach law, politics, history, sociology.  Others are journalists.

Having noted that social networks were important for the organisational strategies, when we came to study publishing strategies, we were interested to know what part had played the Internet. Human factor or technical factor, which one was the most relevant? Would the intellectuals we’ve met give reason to Manuel Castells and his network society?

Often excluded from mainstream media, do intellectuals who critique globalisation feel that they don’t need them anymore? At a moment when public sphere undergoes important transformations, would intellectuals be able to renounce to conquer electronic media such as television and radio? Would they be inclined to stop publishing petitions and open letters in the “elite press”? Has Internet become a support for meaning (support de sens) « all in one » giving way to an electronic revolution facilitating circulation and production of knowledge in the same time? For intellectuals who intervene about issues that transcend national borders, was Internet « just in time »? What did they gain from the so-called information society? A public virtually without limits? Or, on the contrary, a loss of visibility, a voice overwhelmed by a cacophony of millions of voices, one page screen among millions of page screens ? 

Though there is no absolute consensus about media and supports strategies, most of the intellectuals that we have met preferred traditional supports to publish their intervention. They don’t use much Internet and often see it as a support for reproduction rather than a support for original content.  On the other hand, almost everyone use it for research or for collaborative work. They think that Internet may have facilitated production and circulation of information but in general, they don’t think Internet has made a radical change in the nature or amount of information that circulates, neither do they think it has democratised its access.  

« The translation of Italian literature in France:
from romanticized representations to the dominance of a commercial logic »

Anaïs Bokobza
CNRS, Centre de Sociologie Européenne, Paris, France

Since several decades, cultural relationships are increasingly international, especially thanks to the evolution of the means of communication. This transformation is part of the so-called process of “globalisation”. This notion, which referred to the increasing movements of goods, services, labour, technology and capital at the international level, was first used to convey an economic phenomenon, but it also applies to other fields, such as cultural exchanges.

One of the consequences of cultural globalisation is the increasing number of foreign books available on national marketplaces. Books constitute an interesting category of cultural goods because it cannot exist outside a linguistic context, but also because, due to the translation costs, they are expensive products, which implies that they do not move so easily across borders.

Since the 1980s, deep transformations have been occurring in the editorial worlds in most Western countries. In France, the familial type of power that used to prevail is giving way to a more and more concentrated economy, which affects both the production and distribution of books.

In order to illustrate the consequences of this phenomenon, we will look at the evolution of the introduction of Italian literature in France. Thanks to a corpus gathering the 1786 Italian literary books published in French in 1984 and 2002, we will analyse the translation flows (number of titles and reprints, types of books, publishers) in order to show that the structure of the Italian publications in France quite reflects the structure of the French editorial field. We will also see, through the analysis of both the nature of the translated books and the evolution of the distribution circuits, how the “commercial” pole of the French editorial field progressively took over on the “symbolic” one. Moreover, thanks to a series of interviews conducted with translators and publishers of Italian literature in France, we will shed qualitative light on these analyses, especially by examining how certain representations of Italy in France influence the choices of the Italian books published in France.

All the sources (translation statistics, interviews) were gathered in the framework of my Doctoral thesis, entitled “Translating literature. From romanticized representations to the dominance of a commercial logic: the publications of Italian novels in France (1982-2001)”, defended in March 2004, and in that of the ACI of the Centre de Sociologie Européenne on the translations towards French.

«Culture, globalization and communication: contemporary theoretical perspectives»

Stéphane Dorin
Université Paris 13, EHESS, CNRS, France

>>> Download the communication (French)

This paper focuses on the relationship between culture and globalization from a theoretical perspective. What are the main theoretical models available to describe and explain the new connections between cultural industries, media and technology? We will consider four theoretical models and examine the way they link respectively culture and globalization. The first one is also the oldest one : the cultural imperialism model, which is revived by the critique of major companies of the cultural and media industries; the acculturation model draws inpiration from anthropology. We will then consider the global flows model, by Arjun Appadurai and investigate the reasons of its academic success in the field of globalization theory, but also its limits. Finally, we will take a look at the 'branchings' model, by Jean-Loup Amselle. In this paper, we will thus try to bring out of these four models, through a critical approach, what seems to be relevant to a better understanding of the new relationship between culture, globalization and communication.

«The Reality Television’s paradox :
from homogenization to heterogeneization, adaptability of the formats and local adaptations

Elodie Kredens
Université Lyon 3, France

>>> Download the communication (French)

Concerning television programs’ internationalization, reality TV presents as originality to offer "televised products in becoming": only formats are sold instead of “ready to watch programs”. In spite of this specificity which allows a great number of regional adaptations, many people still see it as a danger of cultural standardization and they rise up against the domination of cultural industries. Even if there is indeed a standardization of the "containers", in other words of reality TV concepts, it seems well exaggerated to conclude with a homogenization of the "contents".

The study of the TV-program called Big Brother in several countries shows how the format, which is a priori homogenizing, is in fact extremely flexible and revealing of the cultural diversity between countries. We will see that there is a common dynamic which allows reality TV’s globalization and also that there are evident variations in the production conditions as well as in cultural interpretational frames of these programs. We will insist more particularly on the case of Loft Story, the French version of Big Brother, and we will wonder whether the concept of “French cultural exception" makes sense or not. The aim is to show that programs are literally readjusted to their public even if it is not obvious immediately. It is true that an expeditious analyse with rather pejorative theoretical considerations on cultural industries are obstacles to perceive the richness of national specificities.

«Press Agencies, search engines, internationalization and the formatting of information»

Michael Palmer
Université Paris 3, France

>>> Download the communication (French)

"Words without end...; words and pix with a predetermined end"

Words, images, figures, sounds are the currency of news. Data flows, data mining, data streams" -- these italicized terms are metaphors frequently used in attempts to assess the news product, the news output. This output, whose value appears to be linked to its novelty and to the "exclusivity" claimed by the "source" who   "first" obtains and transmits this output, at 'T', may still have a value as "recycled" or "historic " data, at 'T+1". In the past 10 or so years, the development of the internet, and the increasing number of sites opened by what have long been called "reputable, legitimate", purveyors, vendors and brokers of news, have been accompanied by efforts by major   professional and technical bodies to develop hypertext mark-up languages and classifications that meet with a consensus among the recognized actors in the field. The latter include major international news agencies and transnational audiovisual channels. One such body is the IPTC - the International Press Telecommunications Council. During the same period, news-agencies, via their intranets and other outlets, have debated the commercial, technical and 'linguistic' issues raised in this regard. On another sphere, various university research projects develop research into phenomena such as "How much Information?” This paper adresses some of the contentious points that emerge during these debates. Computer and telecommunications formats and "languages" ostensibly serve to facilitate the recognition and transfer of data. Journalists and related news-workers sometimes wonder  whether long-running on-going  debates about the appropriate use  of  contentious terms in what might be called "human language" (French, English, Spanish, Chinese etc etc) - example: “when is a terrorist a freedom fighter?", un kamikaze un martyr de la  liberté"... - may not be further compounded by the complexities of "computer-recognizable" languages…