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 3.1 - Workshop 3.2 - Workshop 3.3 - Workshop 3.4 - Workshop 3.5
   
Workshop 3.3 Technological changes and shifts in usages
   
  Chairman :
- Serge Proulx, University of Quebec in Montreal, Canada

Speakers :
Vincent Berry, Paris 13
«The on-line video game industry: construction and deconstruction of a cultural leisure»
>>> Download the communication (French)

Laurent Podetti, Paris 8
«Use of Internet and social relationship : analysis of Paris and suburb students’ practices»
>>> Download the communication (French)

Florence Reynier, GRESEC, Université Stendhal Grenoble 3, France
«The use of 2,5 G multimedia mobile services»
>>> Download the communication (French)

Adrienne Russel, University of Southern California -Annenberg Center, USA
«Emerging Network Tools and Practices and the Transformation of Cultural Industries »

Françoise Paquienséguy, Université Paris 8, CEMTI, France
« Among range of uses, devices and personalization: what has become prescribed usage? »
>>> Download the communication (French)

   
 

«The on-line video game industry: construction and deconstruction of a cultural leisure »

Vincent Berry
Paris 13

>>> Download the communication (French)

This paper analyses the emergence of the digital leisure industry and its most recent evolution: on-line video games and the virtual world. First, we will redraw the steps of this sector and show the social and economic factors present in the the differrent circuits which structure these leisure activities: the role of the cultural, marketing, and technological circuit (Kline). Then we will discuss the modes of production and reception of these products and their effects in terms of culture and cultural production. The links between the Video Game industry and the internet brings to the foreground new modes of consumption, production and reception of cutlural products. The role which players' communities occupy on the internet is essential and determining; it is extremely present, as well, in the consumption of products, in advertisement, and in the conception (test, update, creation, etc.). The internet is, at the same time a space of consumption (where people play), creation (where players are discussing the development of the game), and marketing (where the video players can try new games). (But also of casting by the implementation of platforms of downloading). All the actors of this kind of leisure are centralized, participant and inhabitant in the same virtual space, reducing actually the various - and traditional- mediations between producer and consumer. So appears a new kind of cultural product consumption, in a way of "co-construction" or even a "cooperation" between users - often expert - and software editors. These relations between the diverse actors are generative, being just as much a relation of creation rather than tension and mutual distrust: hacking, diversion, recovery. To understand the connections between producers and consumers, we thus suggest focusing our attention on the video game industry in order to:

  1. Redraw briefly the steps of this industry
  2. Analyze the appropriation by the users of these cultural products, the types of social organizations which appear from these groupings (the virtual communities) and the type of relation and negotiation which they maintain with the publishers (editors).
  3. The tensions which exist between the appropriation of the games by the users and the strategies, the expectations of the publishers (editors) and the designers. On one side, we observe "communities of practices" who are extending and producing in an infomal way cultural products. On the other side, publishers (editors), designers and industries at the same time use these communities as resource for their product (ex: the video game counterstrike), but must not be perceived as "getting back" the community productions. The publishers (editors) of on-line video games are in a double bind: give and favour spaces of continuation of their product, master and centre the productions of the internet users while leaving a certain latitude and "a self-management" to the users.

« Use of Internet and social relationship : analysis of Paris and suburb students’ practices »

Laurent Podetti
Paris 8

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Au travers de l’usage d’Internet, qu’en est-il de la production et de la reproduction des rapports sociaux ? Assiste-t-on, comme on le lit communément, à une mutation sociale, la technique bouleversant l’ordonnancement social, ou bien la société s’approprie-t-elle un nouvel outil de communication en conservant ses structures, adaptant l’usage à sa reproduction propre ? Choisissant le terrain de l’École, encore peu exploré, c’est la pratique d’Internet par des lycéens de Paris et de sa banlieue qui a été questionnée. D’un point de vue méthodologique, la recherche, évitant le cheminement de l’individualisme méthodologique, a tenté de mettre en relation échelles micro et macro, confrontant des pratiques personnelles de jeunes aux grands invariants sociaux que sont l’institution familiale ou scolaire. Les résultats montrent qu’Internet intervient dans la fabrique de l’identité, participant au classement/placement des jeunes en fonction de leur position sociale d’origine. Ainsi, l’importance du capital économique de la famille conditionne la pratique d’Internet, alors que le capital culturel des jeunes en commande l’usage. Quant à l’institution scolaire, son rôle est loin d’être neutre. En voulant généraliser l’usage d’Internet, elle pérennise l’inégalité de départ et elle influe sur la constitution du capital social, puisque c’est essentiellement dans son cadre que se nouent les relations que les jeunes entretiennent sur Internet. Un deuxième résultat est à noter et qui touche aux représentations. L’usage d’Internet est commandé par la croyance que la technique est le facteur décisif du processus d’intégration sociale. En conséquence, les représentations qui sont faites d’Internet laissent entrevoir une certaine naturalisation du mécanisme social rendue possible par l’usage d’un outil de communication. À l’encontre de ce qui peut être écrit en sciences sociales, l’étude ne met pas en évidence une mutation sociale par l’usage de l’Internet. En revanche, elle souligne l’existence de deux pôles – inégalité sociale avérée et intégration sociale escomptée – entre lesquels l’usage de l’Internet est en tension. Cette torsion peut caractériser une société qui change. L’étude de l’usage d’Internet, d’une technique de médiatisation culturelle, mettrait alors en évidence, non pas une nième mutation, mais la continuation de la transformation sociale, la poursuite de l’installation progressive de la « société industrielle ». Poursuivant le raisonnement, se pourrait-il qu’Internet soit cet outil efficace, facilitant l’incorporation d’un mode de production social ? Internet participerait-t-il à une « industrialisation » de la pensée ? L’incorporation procèderait de l’occupation d’un temps particulier né du système de production industrielle : le temps de loisir. Moment "entre-deux", hors des obligations générées par l’ordre social, moment ludique où le comportement de la personne peut s’analyser en terme de stratégie : liberté, autonomie, choix de son destin sont du ressort du seul individu, rationnel. In fine, Internet rendrait possible une socialisation par l’échange.

« The use of 2,5 G multimedia mobile services »

Florence Reynier
GRESEC, Université Stendhal – Grenoble 3, France

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The focus of our study is about the use of “multimedia mobile services”used by 18 to 25 year-olds. By saying “multimedia mobile services”, we mean the 2,5 G services accesible by Wap, MMS and i-mode telephones. Our study has been focused on the youth, mainly because this is the age group that has first used new communication and information technology, additionally the 18 to 25 year-olds represent a homogeneousness culture (we often speak of the “youth culture”) more often sthan the rest of the population.

From a theoretic point of view, our work focuses on the sociological aspect of use concerning information and communication technologies. While at the same time, we also studied the sociology concerning the youth in our society. By doing this, it has allowed us to better understand the main role that the youth plays within the definition of a social universe, which is even more homogeneous by its cultural usage. Finally, we used a technological approach in order to understand the stakes linked to the emergence of the 2, 5 G telephones.

In the case of our study, we have envisioned the multimedia mobile services as a complement, as well as, a prolongation to older information and communication technologies, in relation to the logic of the cultural industries, that might contribute to the emergence of new cultural, informational and communicational usages.

Our goal was to identify the informational and communicational uses of the multimedia mobile services used by to 18 to 25 year-olds. It was also important to think about the uses in terms of integration/differentiation for the 18 to 25 year-olds as the “youth culture”.

The results of our study allowed us to better understand the materials, as well as, the motivations behind the consummation of the 2,5 G telephones of the youth. The highest result that we had had, is noticing that of the two user profiles using multimedia mobile services, there is a difference in relation to the materials and computer/technology-knowledge. These two user profiles are noticed equally by their adherence to the “youth culture”, as well as to their socio-demographic characteristics. The main profile corresponds to the “post-adolescents” who are, by their use of multimedia mobile services, within a computer logic network. The second profile is considered to be “pre-adults”; whom are inside of a telephone mobility logic.

The mobile multimedia services offer a new way of communication including: e-mail, chat, and MMS all avalaible within the functions of mobile telephones. The uses of these multimedia mobile communication services differentiate in function with the membership of the youth into this social network, equipped with 2, 5 G mobile telephones. As for the first case, the “post-adolescents” have services use on the network, allowing them to develop new innovative use such as the “communicating-photo”. However in the second case, the pre-adults have a single use, limiting the actual use of the communicative services.

Finally, we were able to take note of the multimedia mobile services, allowing to have informational and comunicationnal usage, basically more individually based. The post-adolescents are inside of an individual content logic production, while the pre-adults are more inside of an individual consommation logic, where they adhere to the mobile companies.

« Emerging Network Tools and Practices and the Transformation of Cultural Industries »

Adrienne Russel
University of Southern California, Annenberg Center, Etats-Unis d’Amérique

This paper is part of a larger book project of the Networked Publics Research group at the Annenberg Center for Communication at the University of Southern California. The paper examines the changing relationship between cultural production and consumption. These developments are part of the larger network publics phenomenon and can be understood in terms of the three key trends--the rise of M2M distribution in the form, for example, of mailing lists and collective blogs; network-era aggregation of information and culture; and the rise of P2P social organization through the development of social networking and collective authoring tools. The threshold for publishing and disseminating knowledge and culture to a general public has been reduced, and that even casual communication, personal stories, and amateur works can be made easily available to an undefined public. It also means that the tools for coordinating the production of knowledge and culture are more readily available to average people, and one doesn't need a formal institutional structure to pool energy and resources to produce culture and knowledge in a coordinated way with others. These developments have produced a dramatic increase in opportunities for amateur (non-institutionalized) and collective (socially distributed)_cultural production. After introducing current issues and controversies surrounding the growth of these new forms of cultural production and exchange, I review key cases in networked amateur cultural production in the areas of popular culture, news, and scholarship.

The battle between the recording industry and filesharing music fans is perhaps the most high profile example of shifts in the production and consumption of cultural products and it illustrates the underlying issues associated with these changes. Peer-to-peer filesharing applications beginning with Napster, followed by LimeWire, Kazaa, and Morpheus, among many other legal and illegal sites, make files stored on personal computers available to other users for download over the Internet and smaller networks. Music filesharing applications revolutionized the music industry by taking it out of the exclusive hands of industry executives--musicians no longer need a record label to produce and distribute their music; fans are no longer limited to the tastes of music industry executives and retail owners because filesharing had already greatly increased the amount of available music; digital files could be sampled and remixed to create new innovative music (for example the DJ Dangermouse’s The Grey Album, or the collectively produced Deconstructing Beck). This quantitative change in the variety of music and in the number of people who can now act as taste-making gatekeepers for themselves and their peers has signaled a qualitative change in the public’s role in the music industry and it reflects emerging changes in other cultural industry sectors including news, film, gaming, and scholarship. And the ability of music consumers to exert increased control over what music they have access to and what they do with that music signals a broader shift in trends of cultural resistance from jamming, where cultural products and their presumed hegemonic force are interrupted, to poaching where cultural products are taken up and refashioned to convey individualized tastes and messages. Music filesharing is most commonly framed in terms of the legal battle waged by the RIAA and other industry entities to protect intellectual property laws against copyright infringement and against anti-copyright activists who argue that present intellectual laws are outdated and that they stifle innovation by privileging individual and corporate financial interests over the interests of the collective. The tension (and in some cases harmony) between commercial interests and the good of the public or the commons and the shift in forms of resistance in the netpublic context are currents that run throughout the examples of emerging cultural practices discussed in this section. While the case of music is the most well-known example of these tensions, it represents an older form of antagonism that is currently being supplanted by new kinds of coalitions and business models that are based on different relationships between producers and consumers, businesses and customers, publishers and audiences. The cases we describe represent examples that disrupt the currently dominant logic of production/consumption relations, indicating the ways in which cultural production is likely to shift with the growing prevalence of digitally networked media. While these new models of production/consumption relations diffuse some of the antagonisms visible in the music case, they also raise new questions and controversies about the role of secondary markets, thevalidity of knowledge, and the breakdown of a shared common culture.

Cases that have emerged more recently and that are examined in this paper include: 1) Fandom including Anime and Machinima; 2) Networked journalism including blogs and other non-traditional digitally distributed news and; 3) Open source scholarship including Wikipedia and student blogging and wikis.

The goal of this paper is to push beyond good/bad, freedom/control, unifying/fragmenting dichotomies.  It draws from key theoretical work on the subject including: Henry Jenkins on cultural and social/organic convergence, Chris Anderson on the Long Tail, Yochai Benkler on the political economy of the commons, John Seely Brown on digital storytelling.


«Among range of uses, devices and personalization: what has become prescribed usage? »

Françoise Paquienséguy
Université Paris 8, CEMTI, France

>>> Download the communication (French)

The article of Lacroix, Tremblay and Moeglin on usage of the notion of usage pointed out very clearly the anteriority of industrial offer in the process of making uses. However, it is certain that the means of innovation at work before putting a technical object on the market, at work within the units of R&D, of prospective and elaboration of uses scenarios, already inscribe within the future technical object the strong sign of society, and form, ‘crystallize’ some say…, the changes of everyday life and its practices of culture, communication, information, which we investigate here.

 In a period rich in ‘new medias’ and new technologies of information and communication (NTIC) (1982-1990), the analysis of usage was partly built on the notion of prescribed usage, inserted in technique by industrial and marketing strategies of manufacturers, giving each tool its function, each service its end; the works of Boullier on notices, those of Jouët of course, link the phases of appropriation of TICs to prescribed usage, which the user follows, or not. Indeed, usage is built according to the one prescribed at purchase, within the technical object itself, but also in its modalities of sale; thus appear behaviours of resistance [Laulan, 1985], of embezzlement [Charon,1988], or of invention [De Certeau, 1980] of usage of Ntic.

 We think that today the offer is more complex to analyze. It is marked by a variety of major changes studied by ACI [Incitative Concerted Action]: modalities of design and of marketing transform and accelerate, and in the meantime contents evolve, adapt to various families of terminals and networks, and call forth services; contents therefore increase their mobility and transportation (download, digitalization, copy, transfer…). Also, some features are accentuated, such as interactivity of terminals (already pointed out by Jouët), which enables the user to carry out personalized use (changing parameters); or such as capacity of digital tics to work as a device here defined as a ‘high speed platform connecting different terminals to varied services and contents’ [Lequeux-Rallet, 2004] ; or as technical awareness of users associated with simplification of handling, which conveys a better mastering of Tic where difficulties of handling used to limit usages not so long ago [Miège-Bouquillion-Séguy].

 Such changes put into question the notion of prescribed usage. First, where is it really inscribed: in the technical offer? In ways of marketing? In the building of market offer (alliance between phone manufacturers, operators or internet providers and providers of contents and services)? In current practice, that is in a way usage enforced by the majority of users? And how is it inscribed: according to the transient principle of fashion or to the much slower one of emerging usages? (What will remain of MMS for instance?). Commercialized Tics today (connected Tics and not playing devices such as MP3) offer a range of usages wider and more diversified, the offer is ‘supple’, ‘malleable’ because operators are searching for gainful usages; indeed, a part of their strategy consists in following consumers and adapting to forming usages through an observation of  ‘technic lovers’ and ‘first adopters’; the success of download of mobile ring tone clearly shows  the reactivity of offer, the development of blogs (and their software) could also prove an example.

 How could one possibly ‘get around’ prescribed usage when fragile or non-existing are the limits or barriers between implements, contents, and services…Hacking?


LACROIX Jean-Guy, TREMBLAY Gaëtan, MOEGLIN Pierre, (1992), “Usages de la notion d’usage” Les nouveaux espaces de l’information et de la communication, Inforcom, 8ème Congrès de la SFSIC, Lille, p.241-248