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BEYOND THE SCENE Supporting apparatus and career path in society of choreographic artists and circus artists in professional transition – S2S


Supporting apparatus and career path in society of choreographic artists and circus artists in professional transition

Professional transitions: between social courses and professional groups governance

Domains of the aesthetic sensibility and physical excellence, the professions of dancer and circus artists question with strength the conditions of professional longevity. These kinds of artists know similar difficulties to those of others professions (like sportsmen, models, etc.), but the modalities of governance of arts seem specific, including the question of “retraining”. The first objective of this research was to understand the way of thinking and organizing this question of retraining in these two artistic sub-sectors. Besides, the program concerned the way of artists approach themselves this stage of their path, requesting or not the various supports offered to these two categories of artist.

The lack of precise statistical data about dancers and circus artists who end their scenic activities, and the variability of transition forms indicated by the literature, incited the team to promote a qualitative approach (155 interviews realized). The sample of artists (n= 64) was built by combining several ways: follow-ups of professional schools’ students, mobilization of networks developed during previous inquiries on these two sectors and request step by step. In this context, circus artists (n =31) and dancers (n=33) were questioned 1, 2, 3 times about their biographic and professional path, to seize the specificities of these two domains of art in terms of working conditions and employment. The method of interviews was mobilized for understanding the categories of thought relative to the “retraining” among various public and professional persons (n=38). Finally, to understand better the paths of the met artists, an exploitation of the data gave by the national office of employment and relative to all jobs contracts realized between 2005-2015 for dance and circus shows, was realized (n=8,5 millions of contracts).

Despite the existence of retraining support specifically designed for these two categories of artists, the survey shows that a large part of them conceive this stage of career without mobilizing this kind of help. The reasons can be some inadequacies towards the criteria of institutional temporality, the priority gave on others forms of support, in particular family and/or fiends. These mechanisms participate to strengthen the disparities of path between artists. These results were completed by other studies and lead of the broadcasting of knowledges in direction of the future professionals on the domain of live performance.

This research has already led to several individual and collective publications in scientific journals with publication board (7), in particular international (3), added with a book chapter. The participation of team members in diverse scientific events (5) and the organization of a colloquium entitled “Artists and their institutions” in November 2017, favoured exchanges between scientific community around the theme of careers in artistic sectors and their modalities of governance. Finally, a collective book presenting in detail the results of research is being edited.

The themes addressed in this program are continuing today through a research program entitled «TThe professional retraining of high level athletes. Individual adaptations and collective innovations in support of a professional transition process«.

- Bourneton-Soule F., Julhe S. 2018 [sous presse]. « “J’arrête, mais pour faire quoi après ?” » Les processus d’élaboration des nouvelles aspirations professionnelles chez les artistes de cirque. » Dans M. Cordier, al. (dir.). Le cirque en transformations : identités et dynamiques professionnelles. Reims : EPURE.
- Salaméro É, Cordier M. 2018 [sous presse]. Appartenance générationnelle et figures professionnelles. Le cas des artistes de cirque en France, Émulations, 25.
- Salaméro É. 2018. Politiques publiques du cirque : reconnaissance artistique et segmentation d'une profession (1978-1993), Politix, 121, p. 217-237.
- Coconnier C., Julhe S. 2017. L’accompagnement des danseurs en transition professionnelle. Un dispositif révélateur des décalages entre une institution et ses usagers, Terrains & Travaux, 31, p. 201-222.
- Julhe S. 2016. L’approche par les capabilités au travail. Usages et limites d’une économie politique en terre sociologique, Revue française de sociologie, 57, 2, p. 321-352.
- Julhe S., Salaméro É., Honta M. 2016. Construction d’un malentendu entre porteurs et destinataires d’un dispositif social. Accompagner la “reconversion” des artistes chorégraphiques et des artistes de cirque, SociologieS [En ligne], mis en ligne le 07 mars 2016. URL : sociologies.revues.org/5199
- Salaméro É, Julhe S., Honta M. 2016 La “reconversion” des artistes de cirque comme “problème public” : une rencontre difficile entre un dispositif et ses destinataires, in T. Perez-Roux, R. Etienne, J. Vitali (dir.), Professionnalisation des métiers du cirque. Des processus de formation et d’insertion aux épreuves identitaires, Paris, L’Harmattan, p. 179-216.
- Julhe S., Salaméro É, Honta M. 2015. Aider à la reconversion des danseurs, Revue française des affaires sociales, 1-2, p. 229-247.
- Salaméro É. 2015. Les modes de reconnaissance des artistes de cirque à l’épreuve du temps : de l’état du champ aux trajectoires professionnelles, Sociologie et sociétés, 47, 2, p. 237-259.

The jobs by living arts performers (actors, musicians, dancers, circus performers, etc.) are regularly presented as jobs where we enter by "vocation" and by "passion" (Moulin, 1983; Sorignet, 2004a; Sinigaglia, 2011; Cordier, Salamero, 2012), but where it is particularly difficult to continue (Menger, 1994, 2009). This situation would be exacerbated in the case of choreographic artists and circus artists. Every year, in France, nearly 5% of the 5,000 dancers and 1,000 circus artists “intermittents” cease their interpreter activity. However, the transition beyond the scene or beyond the track is not a step taken for granted for them (Baumol & al., 2004; Chiffert & Michel, 2004; Mendita Gil, 2004). Professional transition asks numerous questions to artists, as well as in terms of private life, financing it and about how to access to new education to return towards the employment. To shed new light on this issue, a team of ten social scientists from six French universities wish to gather around for an ambitious research program, for a period of three years. A comparative analysis between choreographic artists who already benefit from assistive apparatus to "transition" (CND, AFDAS, etc.), and circus artists in recent professional schools, which a part of the first generations arrive now at the end of career, appears particularly relevant.

From a cross between the sociology of public action (Kingdon, 1984; Jobert & Muller, 1987; Warin, 1999; Lascoumes & Le Gales, 2004; Cantelli Genard, 2007) and sociology of the professional courses (Grossetti, 2004, 2006a, 2006b; Négroni, 2005, 2007; Denave, 2006; Bidart, 2006, 2010; Bessin, 2009; Abbott, 2010; Bessin &t al., 2010), it will be observed:
- On the one hand, the action’s repertoires, modes of operation and coordination of the public and private actors involved in the existing aid schemes, but also their effects. On this level, the generic issue will analyze how the apparatus under study distinguish themselves from those of common law affecting the majority of the individuals registered in a process of "reemployment";
- On the other hand, we search an understanding about the social differentiation of “conversion” mechanisms, as they are at work in that both artistic fields. We discuss how artists perceive the apparatus support and assistance to the "conversion", but also how theirs family and relational network is used as resource.

The methodology for data collection fits in a comprehensive approach and qualitative analysis of work (Hughes, 1996; Dubar & Tripier, 1998; Alter, 2006; April & al., 2010). More than 130 semi-structured interviews will be performed and divided into three groups:
- With the institutional agents and professionals involved in assistance schemes for retraining;
- With the artists in service who are thinking to leave their career as a performer;
- With the artists who have already stopped working as performers.

Finally, it is proposed to treat statistically the “Caisse des congés spectacle” files to get an overview of the performing arts sector and characterize the specificities of dancing and circus arts about the career transition theme.

Project coordinator

Monsieur Samuel JULHE (Laboratoire Cultures, Education, Sociétés)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


LACES EA 4140 Laboratoire Cultures, Education, Sociétés

Help of the ANR 90,000 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: January 2014 - 36 Months

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