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 ».
Conference topics

The State, regulatory activities, regulation.

The roles of public policy, regulatory activity and regulation raise a number of questions for two reasons. Despite numerous declarations announcing the end of state influence these very activities contribute significantly to the way in which the CMI are structured. The system of competition as it is organized by official regulatory authorities or the way in which competition is structured weighs heavily on the outcome of conflicts or cooperation between commercial players but also on the way in which social uses of new products or devices or supply are implemented. On the other hand, regulatory decisions are both indicators and vectors of the redefinition of the role of the state but also that of the Nation and even culture itself within contemporary societies. Several questions need to be addressed. How have public policies contributed to defining or redefining products deemed to be "cultural "? What is the value placed on aesthetic questions or those relating to cultural politics ("cultural democratisation” / “cultural democracy”), as opposed to those of an economic or industrial nature? What factors determine differences between industries and between cultural traditions from the point of view of public regulation? To what extent is it legitimate to speak of “transnational” cultural policies (European in particular)?

Transformations in industrial and financial structures and strategies

Since the mid 90s, a number of centres have been created with international ambitions which are active in several sectors of the CMI simultaneously. Many commentators consider these movements to be both the engine for and the sign of a new phase in the industrialisation of culture and communication. Set against a background of globalisation and “financialisation” the “standardisation” of cultural and intellectual production is said to have increased, particularly in order to satisfy financial investors’ requirements for profitability. Is this interpretation valid? How should the pros and cons of this concentration be interpreted?

Globalisation, cultural areas and industrialisation of culture

Transformations in the CMI must be analysed from the perspective of globalisation. Changes in the regulatory, industrial and financial scene have occurred on an international scale. International negotiations aimed at extending deregulated exchanges or to maintain public services are still underway. How is the balance of power between cultures established? What are the means and effects of the progressive unification of world markets of cultural production on supply as far as cultural goods are concerned? And what do proposals based on anti-globalisation or “alternative globalisation” amount to? What are the consequences of abandoning the notion of "cultural exception" in favour of cultural "diversity"? The geopolitics of communication will be the subject of specific analyses.

The CMI contrasted with other industries and fields : new approaches

The question arises of the extension of the logic at work within Cultural and Media Industries towards other social domains. Educational services are becoming industrialized in a very similar way to that followed by communication services. In addition to the massive presence of traditional industrial products and multimedia in the field of Education, nowadays we may also note the industrialisation of services: self-study, on-line training, e-learning, etc. These are all clear indicators of the industrialisation of services, a phenomenon which has only been analysed up until now by a small number of teams, in France and abroad. Equally, sectors of the toy industry, the entertainment industry or the digital arts maintain close links with the CMI and share a number of features with them. The study of the principles at work in these domains as well as an examination of their relationships with the CMI can contribute enormously to the reappraisal of the categories of analysis produced by theories about the cultural industry.

Transformations of content and means of valorisation

Methods of design, production, reproduction and broadcasting, as well as the way cultural products are commercialised and monetised have changed. Products are increasingly marketed via a number of supports, whether material or immaterial. "Granularisation" and differentiation are developing. Services can be added to content. Similarly, the techniques for valorisation include a range of different forms of financing. How do these processes contribute to reorganising the different sectors?

Changes in practices and uses

Practices and uses have not been sufficiently analysed by researchers and rarely linked to other factors (changes in industrial supply, social, political and ideological transformations). How do the supply strategies of the Cultural and Media Industries relate to cultural, informational and communicational uses and practices which are socially constructed? How do uses of ICTs and the associated cultural or communicational practices contribute to transformations in people’s private and working lives? In short, how should these transformations of uses and practices be interpreted?

Change in the public sphere and ideological changes

There have been major transformations within the public sphere and the general public has been provided with new ways to participate in public life. New “physical” and virtual spaces » have emerged often as a result of private initiatives such as “citizen” cafés, forums, blogs… The multiplicity of players and distribution channels has made public information more accessible, allowing its integration into various socio-economic frameworks and at the same time leading to the contestation of authority. How then do these changes in the means of production of information in the media and the introduction of new information media such as "freesheets" or on-line information redefine the public area? Finally, what sort of ideological concepts have become associated with the transformations in these CMIs and how do they contribute to legitimizing the social transformations currently taking place?