The Industrial Paradigms of Culture and Communication and their Contribution in the Transformations in the Symbolic Goods Industries

27 Déc, 2017


This paper aims at discussing the links between, on the one hand, changes in the industrialization and commodification of culture and creation, the development of digital and digital industries and, on the other hand, anthropological transformations and political changes. Then we propose three paradigms dealing with culture and communication (Bouquillion, Miège, Moeglin, 2013). The three paradigms are: the paradigm of convergence, the paradigm of collaboration and the paradigm of creation. The paradigms present in common the five main characteristics: the ”industrial central function”; the situation of cultural industries in relation to the actor holding the central function; the definition of culture; the relationship of social agents to the culture; the key issue of public policy.


Cultural industries, creative industries, symbolic goods industries, digital, paradigms, collaborative web

En Français


Les paradigmes industriels de la culture et de la communication et leur contribution dans l’analyse des transformations des industries des biens symboliques


Le présent article vise à étudier les liens entre, d’une part, les mutations des modalités d’industrialisation et de marchandisation de la culture et de la création et le développement du numérique et de ses industries et, d’autre part, des transformations anthropologiques et politiques. Nous proposons pour ce faire trois paradigmes de la culture et de la communication (Bouquillion, Miège, Moeglin, 2013). Il s’agit des paradigmes de la convergence, de la collaboration et de la création. Chaque paradigme comprend cinq caractéristiques fondamentales communes relatives à la « fonction centrale », à la situation des acteurs de la culture et de la création, à la définition de la culture, à la relation des agents sociaux à la culture et à l’enjeu clef de politique publique.

Mots clés

Industries culturelles, industries créatives, industries des biens symboliques, numérique, paradigmes, Web collaboratif

En Espanol


Los paradigmas industriales de la cultura y la comunicación y su contribución a las transformaciones en las industrias simbólicas de mercancías


El objetivo de este artículo es estudiar los vínculos entre los cambios en los métodos de industrialización y la mercantilización de la cultura y la creación y desarrollo de la tecnología digital y sus industrias y, por otro lado, antropológico y político. Proponemos tres paradigmas de cultura y comunicación (Bouquillion, Miège, Moeglin, 2013). Estos son los paradigmas de convergencia, colaboración y creación. Cada paradigma incluye cinco características básicas comunes relacionadas con la « función central », la situación de los actores de la cultura y la creación, la definición de la cultura, la relación de los agentes sociales con la cultura y la cuestión clave de política pública.

Palabras clave

Industrias culturales, industrias creativas, industrias de bienes simbólicos, digital, paradigmas, web colaborativa

Pour citer cet article, utiliser la référence suivante :

Bouquillion Philippe, « The Industrial Paradigms of Culture and Communication and their Contribution in the Transformations in the Symbolic Goods Industries », Les Enjeux de l’Information et de la Communication, n°18/3A, 2017, p.27 à 38, consulté le , [en ligne] URL : https://lesenjeux.univ-grenoble-alpes.fr/2017/supplement-a/02-the-industrial-paradigms-of-culture-and-communication-and-their-contribution-in-the-transformations-in-the-symbolic-goods-industries/


This paper aims at discussing the links between, on the one hand, changes in the industrialization and commodification of culture and creation, the development of digital and digital industries and, on the other hand, anthropological transformations and political changes. We will rely on the notion of « industrial paradigms” of culture and communication (Bouquillion, Miège, Moeglin, 2013). Our proposals are based on various empirical research conducted for the French Ministry of Culture and Communication or the National Agency for research. We have been studying the industrial strategies and discourses of the largest players of cultural, creative and communication industries in North America, Europe and Japan and public policies towards these industries in France and in the European Union.

The symbolic goods industries include actors from very different sectors, with very different socio-economic characteristics. Some, for example the actors of the communication industries, are far from the sphere of creation. They are primarily manufacturers of consumer electronics, Internet search engines, software manufacturers, social networking sites or telecommunication operators. On the other hand, the core business of other actors is much more linked to culture and creation. This is particularly the case for cultural industries players or those in fashion, design or craftsmanship.

In any case, some of the players in these industries try to develop the links between industry, digital and culture and creation. As a result, the various components of the industries of symbolic goods are in growing relation. Thus, even if, of course, these industries remain different, they are in connection because they all include various forms of « creation products” in their offer, they rely more and more on digital and they try to more “industrialize” their activity. Very often, these developments generate conflicts. For instance, some of the actors in the communication industries seek to create a balance of power with the actors of the cultural industries in order to articulate their offer with cultural products without contributing to the production of these products.

An observation can easily be made: these movements are largely initiated by actors of the communication industries, which have a great industrial and financial power, more important than the players closest to creation. These players in digital have experienced very strong growth over the last two decades. The largest industrial players in this field are now among the world’s largest stock valuations. Actually, players whose core business is far removed from creative activities, such as an electronics manufacturer, Apple for instance, may wish to increase the symbolic dimension of their offerings, especially because they seek to escape price competition by making their products less substitutable.

On the other hand, these movements are rather suffered by the actors closest to creation. However, other socio-economic actors whose core activity is more creative may have an interest in integrating operating modes from non-cultural industries, in order for example, to deepen the use of marketing.

These phenomena belong to the industrialization of symbolic goods.

Whatever their promoters could be, these associations, or even these joints, do not occur « naturally ». They take place in conflicting ways. They occur within the framework of mutations both economic and industrial, and political and anthropological. On the one hand, these industrial changes cause important social, ideological and political transformations. On the other hand, the industrial transformations need the social, political and ideological changes to occur. The industrial actors that initiate these movements are active in their strategies, but, beyond their efforts, various social, cultural and political norms must also be reconsidered. As a result, many social actors are involved in these movements. First, redistributions of cards between industrial players are necessary. For example, when actors in the communication industries aim to become the more important dissemination vectors of cultural and information content that they neither produced nor financed, they seek to impose new ways of organizing the industry. Second, in order to improve the profitability of these actors and / or to more general adjustments of capitalism, anthropological transformations are necessary, including the evolution of the socially accepted definition of the notion of culture and the transformation of the dominant relationship of social agents to culture. Finally, these activities need to obtain transformations in public policies in order to reinforce their strategies. Various social actors attempt to influence these changes: including the industrial players and especially the most powerful players of the communication industries, public authorities, international organisations, experts, etc. They operate under severe struggles.

In this perspective, in order to facilitate developments in a way favourable to them, these actors social produce normative representations of industrial, cultural and political movements, including representations of the contribution of the symbolic goods industries to broader changes in society, economy and politics. Because the interests diverges and the balance of power is in constant evolution, these normative representation (that we have called, “industrial paradigms”) are necessarily plural. Three major visions, three paradigms, of the symbolic goods industries and of the issues they raise are at work. Each corresponds to three main ideal-typical modes of organization of the industries of symbolic goods in which the various dimensions of these activities « make system », that is to say that they are connected by logical correspondences. The industrial paradigms of culture and communication are based on logical connections between the ways the symbolic goods industries are organized and a certain definition of the notion of culture, a type of relationship of social agents to culture and key issue of public policy towards the symbolic goods industries. These paradigms are of course constructions that we, the researchers, have produced. These paradigms are not “structuring logics” of the industries that would have succeeded each other in time. In particular, references to the « collaborative » as to the « creative » did not wait for the years 1990 or 2000 to develop. Similarly, paradigms are not « social laws » that would compel actors and their tactics or strategies. As they are presented here they are only theoretical constructions whereas the system of legitimation on which they are based are social constructs. In this regard, they have nothing in common with what industrialists or journalists refer to as the « ecosystem », such as Apple’s ecosystem, so much vaunted in promotional speeches of this group. The paradigms of culture and communication are ideal types. In fact, in their industrial strategies and in their speeches social actors mix the themes of these paradigms.

The three industrial paradigms (See table 1) are: the convergence paradigm, the collaboration paradigm and the creation paradigm. The table below summarizes the three paradigms, in particular in relation to the five main characteristics of each paradigm: the ”industrial central function”; the situation of cultural industries in relation to the actor holding the central function; the definition of culture; the relationship of social agents to culture; the key issue of public policy.

The paradigms will be presented in turns.


Dominant industrial players (central function)/ mode of monetization

Situation of cultural industries in relation to the actor who claims to be the central

Definition of culture

Type of relationship between social agents and culture

Key public policy issue


Actors mastering platforms that integrate various cultural and information "contents" and services / Remuneration linked to access to content (Pay-Per-View, subscription)

Absorbed within a unified branch of the culture and communication industries

Industrialized cultural contents associated with services

Consumer "buyers"

Sectoral liberalization


Platforms for collaborative content and social networks / Advertising and marketing marketing information

Tendency, Endangered

The "fans culture"

Networked participants

Intellectual Property Rights


Intermediaries in a position to articulate different sectors / Organization of cross-financing between very different activities

Service providers

Culture extended to creation

Users developing their human capital

A dialectic between measures specifically dedicated to culture and standard industrial policies

Table 1 – Global presentation of the three paradigms

1. The Paradigm of Convergence

The players of the platforms called to dominate the industries of symbolic goods

For about thirty years, the theme of convergence has been present in the news, in renewed forms, and has been the subject of important speeches. From the early 1970s, these speeches announced convergence, that is, a form of technical, industrial and regulatory fusion between computers and telecommunications. Then, with the progressive deployment of digital technologies, convergence also refers to the links that have developed between computers, telecommunications and television, notably cable television (Lacroix and Tremblay, 1994, p. 4). Beginning in the 1980s and especially 1990, reference was also made to the cultural industries. According to these perspectives, the cultural industries are destined to be absorbed within a unified branch of the culture and communication industries, a unified chain whose advent is regularly announced as close.

Since the 2010s, in the normative vision developed within the framework of the convergence industrial paradigm, the symbolic goods industries are called to be dominated by the actors who implement convergence, that is to say the players who develop and control, downstream channels, platforms integrating various cultural and information « contents » and services. The platforms monetize by charging final users for access to content and services (pay-per-view, subscription). These actors are responsible for the collection and redistribution of the resources collected. In fact, the theme of convergence has greatly contributed to the legitimization of the creation or strengthening of so-called « multimedia » industrial groups, ie groups that are positioned on several streams. Industrial projects referring to convergence are not developed or have failed. On the other hand, the constitution in the 1990s, and then the deconstruction from the 2000s onwards, of these vast capitalist groups, were fraught with financial stakes.

Culture industries absorbed within a unified sector

From the perspective of the convergence industrial paradigm, the « new » platform-based media are envisaged as deploying themselves alongside, or even eventually, in substitution for old media. These are the platforms or portals that are presented as the main areas for gathering added value, while the management of the relationship with customers is supposed to be done at the downstream level. At the same time, actors in the cultural industries are called upon to renounce their independence and to regroup, all sectors combined, into large capitalist groups, including actors in the communication industries.

Culture defined as the set of industrialized cultural « contents » associated with services and accessible via platforms

This definition of culture, promoted through the industrial paradigm of convergence, corresponds in part to that which was formerly associated with the cultural industries. The novelty comes from the modes of diffusion since it is about various platforms. These are « new » media or media that are not necessarily controlled by the actors of the cultural industries. Contained pairs / containers or contents / pipes appear very frequently in speeches in order to legitimize such developments, which carry stakes for both industrial players and consumers or public actors. The question of the balance between national content and foreign content is, moreover, revived.

Consumer « buyers »

The relationship between social agents and culture is placed under the sign of access. Users are not considered as contributors or creators but as consumers who can access existing content. From this point of view, an important issue is the presence of networks and the technical capacity to offer content via these networks. The issue is also the willingness to pay from consumers. However, this willingness is expected to develop as a result of the large diversity of choice offered to consumers, the technical quality of distribution and reception, and the possibility for consumers to escape the programming logic to choose themselves in a panel of what they actually want to consume. These characteristics are supposed to divert them, for example, from general public television, financed by advertising or royalties, which is therefore a « free » access.

Sectorial liberalization, a central issue of public policy

Concretely, the deployment of the paradigm of convergence suggests conducting three forms of sectorial liberalization. In the first place, the disappearance of public or private monopolies is advocated. Second, the convergence paradigm favors cross-subsidization of services. In fact, prior to liberalization, regulations prevent, in particular, the cross-positioning of players, that is to say, for example, the possibility of offering, on the same network, both telephony services and television or later Internet access. With the end of the monopolies comes the freedom of supply of services. The references to convergence are then articulated with prospects in terms of competition. Thirdly, the last form of liberalization to be mentioned does not constitute one in the strict sense. Within the framework of the convergence paradigm, competition rules in the symbolic goods industries are envisaged as not necessarily limiting the growth strategies of the industrial players. In fact, in Europe, competition in these industries is governed both by specific measures and by the common law of competition. However, since the European reform of competition policy in 2004, the European Commission, which is the regulator of the most important issues concerning competition in Europe, has chosen to allow fairly large concentrations in the name of convergence. The aim is to allow European industrial players to reach a critical size in the face of their American or Asian competitors.

2. The Paradigm of Collaboration

This system and its construction in paradigm were formed in the first half of the 2000s. Far from being a simple « free » and non-market-driven issue of exchanges between Internet users, the rise of the term « Web 2.0 » already well-anchored but not so named, is the result of the efforts of consultants, publishers and organizers of professional conferences such as Tim O’Reilly, financial players wishing to continue their investments in Web and ICT companies despite the crash of 2001 and, finally, of industrialists keen to be perceived by consumers and especially by financial actors as part of a new field with strong growth prospects (Bouquillion, Matthews 2010). Academics, such as Jenkins, have contributed to this construction, notably by announcing in 2001 that « media convergence generates a new participative popular culture by offering ordinary people the tools to archive, annotate, appropriate and retransmit the content « (Jenkins, 2001, p.93). Similarly, under the same banner, various activities related to the culture and communication industries have gradually come together, all of which assert that the user would have a central place. Certainly, the merit of the notion of Web 2.0 lies in its vagueness. Everyone can contribute, even if these contributions are different, or even in opposition. Thus, activities claim to be Web 2.0 whereas their history and their socio-technical and socio-economic devices are far removed from it. Thus, activities are claimed to be Web 2.0 whereas their history and socio-economic characteristics are far removed. In fact, however, the reference to the collaborative benefits to certain actors more than to others. Collaborative Web activities are very much linked to other web-based offerings, especially to the online advertising industry, to social networking sites, or to e-commerce players. The collaborative Web, together with the cultural products it offers, takes part in new forms of integration of cultural products into the creation, dissemination, promotion and promotion of various goods and services that are not part of the cultural domain.

Collaborative content platforms and social networking platforms hold the central function

The key industrial players within this paradigm are those that facilitate users’ contributions and exchanges between them and enable the deployment of transmedia logics. They are funded by new forms of advertising and by marketing information. The representations developed concerning the central function within the collaborative industrial paradigm aim therefore to promote these actors and to question the types of central function and the methods of valorization specific to the cultural industries, in particular the payment by the final users and also forms of advertising specific to the cultural industries. In this regard, Jenkins points out that audiences now tend to become incompatible with media funding methods, especially with advertising, which presuppose mass audiences that are almost predictable (2006, p. 3). It is therefore necessary to invent other forms of valorization that do not impede free circulation of contents and exchanges. However, it is the players who occupy a position of gate keepers between Internet users, content and advertisers or other funders who are best able to do so. They are therefore called upon to occupy the central function. In fact, such is the strategy that is adopted by some of the most important players in the Web and electronic materials. These industrial movements and the representations that accompany them also interest many of the consumer industries. The links between consumer and cultural industries are not new. In a neo-industrial system, the needs of economic actors in contents and devices for mediating content are, in fact, constantly developing and changing. The collaborative Web contributes actively to these processes.

The cultural industries described as tending to be endangered

Cultural industries and other industrialized and institutionalized forms of creation are described as endangered because of their inability to adapt to the new era that is opening up. In this perspective, Web 2.0, a symbol of the activism and freedom of the user, would « liberate » the culture from its industrial and capitalist insertion. It is stressed that, thanks to digitization, the technical and economic constraints on production are greatly diminished, enabling everyone, or virtually, to become content creators. These contents can be distributed free of charge on collaborative Web sites. They are sometimes accompanied or mixed with professional content, including trailers or clips. Similarly, exchanges between Internet users can enrich the content, thus creating collaborative works. The culture industries, which have become powerless to charge consumers and which, moreover, offer products that are less creative than collaborative productions, would then be condemned. Behind the legitimation of the practices of user-contributors, it is the strategies of predation in the direction of the cultural contents led by the industrial actors, particularly the actors of the communication industries which are legitimized. Presenting the transformations in progress as mainly resulting from a change of practices carried and organized directly by the users-contributors and as part of a historical movement which would be useless to oppose, makes it possible to overshadow the industrial framework and the struggles between industrial players.

Culture defined as the « fans culture »

The definition of culture that is put forward is based, on the one hand, on the idea of the contribution of users, as opposed to the content produced by the actors of the cultural industries and on the other hand on the collective dimension of these contributions, which give rise to lively interpersonal exchanges. Thus, the distinction between content and interpersonal communication, which is a structuring distinction in the economy of culture and communication and which makes it possible in particular to contrast cultural industries and telecommunications or social networks, is here strongly questioned. The reference to the notions of fan or amateur means that the cultural industries which would have contributed greatly to separating on the one hand the amateurs and on the other the professionals are no longer able to maintain such a partitioning. These representations have three ideological advantages. First, all content is put on the same level. Indeed, the borders blur from the point of view of the social agents involved in the cultural processes. They may be as well absolute non-professionals, apprentices and professional contenders as well as professionals from another area of creation. The boundaries also disappear between contents which may or may not be derived from the cultural industries and which, in any case, are modified in particular by transmedia flows. Second, the balance of power between individuals and industrial actors tends to reverse, while the two entities are put into perspective, since user-contributors become media. Thirdly, with such a definition of culture, the collaborative Web also supports the claim that the period beginning in the second half of the 2000s in the industrialized countries is marked by a great cultural diversity. Diversity would be ensured thanks to the individualization of choices made possible by the various interactive devices, including the collaborative Web. These speeches also point out that never so much content have been produced.

Social agents and culture: participants in networks

Proposals relating to users and uses are strongly linked to the association between contribution and consumption. The user-contributor is in fact a consumer who has regained his « rights ». The collaborative Web is presented by its promoters as an infrastructure designed to « serve » users and give them « power ». The dimensions of the user’s empowerment are multiple, but the most central of them is certainly « free creativity ». The consumer process becomes a collective process as users become « media men ». In a world now marked by participatory culture, but also by collective intelligence and convergence as Jenkins thinks – we see transformations in how to be a consumer. This paradigm makes culture not a commodity that sells itself to a final consumer but cultural products become collective goods – they can no longer be sold to the final consumer. These collective goods produce strong externalities because, thanks to the contributions and exchanges they allow, they become the vector of construction the value of other products of the economy.

A key public policy imperative: Intellectual Property Rights

The entry of actors in the communication industries into the content economy leads to pressures to reduce regulatory obligations, in particular any expenditure obligations in production. These actors are also calling for changes in property rights. This is the key public policy imperative in the context of the convergence paradigm. Indeed, the strategies carried out by the actors of the communication industries in the cultural contents frequently take place on the margins of legality. Google’s actions in the press illustrate this. At best, these strategies take place in a relationship of domination towards the actors of the cultural industries that financed the production of content. Apple’s actions in music or those of Amazon in publishing are examples. The interest of the actors of the communication industries is that the rights holders are no longer able to oppose the various forms of valorization of the contents they intend to develop. They are also interested in minimizing the costs and risks of negotiations with rights holders.

3. The Paradigm of Creation

In the United Kingdom, from the end of the late 1990s, speeches, public actions and industrial strategies representative of the creative industrial paradigm developed. These first developments correspond, in part, to British specificities. For example, during the 1990s, the Labor Party wanted to become New Labor and built and promoted the theme of the creative industries when it was still in the opposition. The Labor Party sought to renew its campaign themes and its program of governmental action in a liberal sense. Nevertheless, in the early 2000s, the themes of the creative industries and then of the creative economy became widespread in the discourses, strategies and action plans of economic actors or public or parapublic institutions in the five continents.

The actors who occupy the central function articulate their offers with creative products downstream of the sectors

The industrial players who occupy the central function will seek to articulate their offers with products of creation. It is either to value directly these creative products or to construct the symbolic value of their offers which previously could be relatively remote from the activities of creation. Goods whose value is essentially symbolic can be sold at relatively high prices, disconnected from production costs. These goods are supposed to offer a unique experience to the consumer. Firms can then avoid price competition that reduces their margin, while products are assumed to be less substitutable than functional-value products. The consumer is more captive. Here we find the perspectives opened by Scott Lash and Celia Lurry (2007), especially when these two authors consider the Global Cultural Industry as promoting a process of « chosification » of culture and « culturalization » of the economy. Actors seek to avoid capitalist integrations. They also have an interest in avoiding financial participation in the production of content. They only contribute to the funding of content if they are unable to find original content. In fact, the strategies deployed in the content by the actors of the communication industries are mainly aimed at consolidating their position in their main field of activity. Direct valuation of content, without being a negligible issue, is not their primary objective.

Culture industries, extended to the creative industries, become service providers

With the creative industrial paradigm, the creative industries are described as providers serving other economic actors. There is no need for capitalist integration (paradigm of convergence) or for the cultural industries to disappear (collaborative paradigm), but they are linked to other economic actors through service delivery relationships. In this perspective, cultural industries, like other creative activities, are expected to lose control of the downstream phase of their industry. They would no longer be in direct contact with the final customer. They do not value themselves directly but via intermediaries who ensure contact with the final customer. Creative activities are envisaged as inputs for either the communication industries or other activities directly related to creation, or for other economic sectors previously far removed from creation. This is the scenario of the creative economy. Culture economist David Throsby (2001) described the creative economy as a series of concentric circles. At the heart are the arts and creative industries, which constitute an input, and then, in the following circles, the other activities are placed according to the more or less important relationship they maintain with creativity. The creative industries must then be integrated into other areas of activity, they would be « cross-sectorial ». This cross-sectorial dimension makes these industries a kind of belt for transmitting creativity to other sectors of the economy. Design plays a special role in this regard. Based on a 2008 publication by a group of authors (Justin O’Connor, Cunningham et al., 2008), Justin O’Connor discusses the link between firms’ performance in the stock market and their use of design (O’Connor, 2009, p.388). In addition to being a domain as such, offering products to final-users, design firms are service providers for other sectors. According to these conceptions, design would have acquired a central place in many fields of activity.

Culture becomes creation

With the creative industrial paradigm, on the one hand, the field of culture is considerably enlarged in relation to other paradigms and, on the other hand, culture is defined by its relation to the market. These two aspects are intertwined. According to the promoters of the creative industries, these activities include all activities whose production is based on creation or ideas, which can be legally protected and which can lead to the development of products for solvent markets. Linked to complex knowledge and know-how, supposedly specific to a given territory, these activities would also have a strong territorial anchor, would generate significant added value and would be highly job-creating.

The relationship of social agents to culture in terms of human capital development

The representations of the relations between social agents and culture that are promoted within the framework of the creative paradigm refer to the notion of human capital. Social agents are not only consumers of cultural products and individuals interacting with cultural products via networks, but are primarily creative workers. They can exert their talents in the creative industries or in the context of the creative economy but in spheres more distant from the creative « heart ». Through their cultural practices, individuals are simultaneously constructed as workers and as citizens, these two dimensions becoming inseparable. Cultural practices constitute the foundation of the construction of the human capital of each individual, a human capital that is transverse to the various dimensions in which individuals live, whether in the private sphere, in the professional sphere, or in the political public sphere. The typical figure of the social agent within the creative industrial paradigm is that of the creative individual of his own life, like the figure of the artist whose work and life are deeply articulated. Three major issues are associated with such representations.

First, it is a matter of legitimizing the figure of the artist as an creative entrepreneur. The change is twofold. On the one hand, the insistence on the notion of creation aims at favoring and justifying the fact that artistic activities and artists are at the service of other economic activities and agents. The artist is then invited to build his activity so that it contributes to increase the creativity, and thus the productivity, of non-artistic economic sectors, even distant from the sphere of creation. On the other hand, the objective is to encourage artists to integrate as much upstream as possible the market constraint in their activity. Their works are not intended to be subsidized by public funds, but they must fit into markets and, as far as possible, contribute to the development of the art and creative markets in their territory of belonging.

Secondly, the aim is to promote and justify the development of labor flexibility within the artistic economy and beyond in the economy as a whole. Indeed, it is predicted that the modes of employability at work in the cultural sector will gradually spread to wider parts of the economy. The typical creative worker, as presented in the European official reports on creative industries, is a self-entrepreneur in a largely liberalized economy where labor flexibility must become the rule. The artist entrepreneur is described as the archetype of the future worker in the creative economy to come. In particular, the individual creator-entrepreneurs, sharing tis responsibility with the small companies, has to produce new ideas and in doing so the basis of future products. In this perspective, autonomy and flexibility structure the creation, the personal life of the individuals and the professional activity. The sphere of private life and the professional sphere tend to become confused. This presupposes, first, the regression of wage-earners and the development of the organization of production by project. Therefore it is through an enchanted vision of autonomy and flexibility that the sphere of private life and economy are articulated in these discourses.

Thirdly, these perspectives promote a pacified and consensual view of society. Through creative industries and economics, social problems and conflicts can be addressed and resolved. This new large societal project, beyond the technologies, also absorbs the spheres of culture and presents itself as more integrated in the « human », identities, even intimacy. The representation of the society that is produced is that of a society in which creative workers and citizens interact. It is universal in scope. Moreover, the economic dimension of design has its societal aspect. Design is one of the best tools of social creativity. In the same way that design transforms ideas into products, it allows to construct a graphic representation of the social stakes. It helps organize ideas according to new architectures. In so doing, it offers aids in decision-making, in collective awareness, and in the dissemination of ideas. In short, it is from the same process that we can create new products or solve social problems. In this respect, public service design combines these two dimensions.

Public policies in favor of creation built on the model of standard industrial policies?

Policies formerly centered on cultural considerations are encouraged to refocus on broader economic objectives, favoring the integration of creation into the economy. On this occasion, the attention of politicians must shift from culture to creation. Therefore, public intervention in the field of creation should became a creativity policy and be ruled closer to standard industrial policies. This perspective is evident in official reports, particularly in Europe. Their editors are asking for a reduction in subsidies. Indeed, because of the lack of subsidies, the actors of the creation are obliged to deepen the insertion of their activities in the market system. Also, they call for « liberation » of creativity both within the creative industries and towards the rest of the economy. Three action devices are more particularly recommended. First, one of the new roles devolved to the public authorities is to encourage the development of communication strategies on the part of the actors of the creative industries. Second, public policy advocacy aims to facilitate firms’ access to creative industries to private financing for innovation. Thirdly, it is recommended to allow access to public research aid schemes. At present, creative industries are hardly being eligible for existing innovation schemes.


In conclusion it can be underlined that the industrial paradigms of culture and communication allow better analysing power relations among the various players of the symbolic goods industry and the way they challenge public policy. Besides, paradigms can help to study how the various players of the symbolic goods industries build the symbolic and the economic values of their productions. Indeed, the industries of symbolic goods, more than others, have political and ideological dimensions which are articulated with their industrial and financial dimensions. The industrialized symbolic goods incorporate a certain conception of society, politics, social relations and culture.

Références bibliographiques

Bouquillion, Philippe, Miège, Bernard, Moeglin, Pierre (2013), L’industrialisation des biens symboliques. Les industries créatives en regard des industries culturelles, Grenoble, PUG.

Bouquillion, Philippe, Matthews, Jacod (2010), Le Web collaboratif : mutations des industries de la culture et de la communication, Grenoble, PUG.

Jenkins, Henry (2001), “Convergence? I diverge”, MIT Technology Review, June.

Jenkins, Henry (2006), Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, New York: NYU Press.

Lacroix, Jean-Guy, Tremblay, Gaëtan (1994), « La convergence encore et toujours » in Lacroix, J.-G., Miège, B., Tremblay, G., De la télématique aux autoroutes de l’information, le grand projet reconduit, Sainte-Foy, Grenoble : Presses de l’Université du Québec, PUG.

Lash, Scott, Lury, Celia (2007), Global Culture Industry, Cambridge,UK : Polity Press.

O’Connor, Justin (2009), “Creative Industries: A New Direction?”, International Journal of Cultural Policy, vol. 15, n°4, November, p. 387-402.


Philippe Bouquillion

.: Philippe Bouquillion is a professor of communication sciences at the university Paris13. He is a member of the Laboratory of Information and Communication Sciences (LabSIC) and of the Laboratory of Excellence « Cultural Industries and Artistic Creation ». At the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme Paris Nord, he is the coordinator of the axis « Cultural Industries and Arts ». His work focuses on cultural and creative industries.