CULT - Métamorphoses des sociétés. Emergences et évolutions des cultures et des phénomènes culturels.

From discomorphosis to the digitamorphosis. About the effects of the digital turn on the tastes morphology and the uses of music in the everyday life – MUSIMORPHOSE

To be completed.

In process.

In process.

In process.

Submission summary

This project aims at studying the "digital turn", that is, the transition of a cultural realm defined by the presence of physically available media content to a world where digitized media, that is likely to deeply reconfigure our ways of being in the world. In order to analyze this "digital revolution", we will focus on artistic contexts, and, more specifically, on music in everyday life, and its socio-technical reconfiguration. We have chosen this relatively narrow subject to conduct our investigations for a series of reasons. Firstly, music consumption is a widely shared social experience in which technological innovation - Acetate to Mp3 - is a key element in the transformation. Second, illegal downloading and peer to peer file sharing have become major issues of public debate, legislation and intervention. Finally, our everyday experience of music is not limited to listening, but engages our identities, our conception of time, our emotions and attachments, our ways of understanding and articulating public and private space, etc., in short, it constitutes a very complete social experience.Furthermore, we are seeing since the early 2000s a turning point where the model of the music business goes through an almost uninterrupted market recession, while simultaneously, the digital music sales expand significantly. Indeed, digitization of content - what Fabien Granjon and Clément Combes have named the "digitamorphosis," succeeding Antoine Hennion’s "discomorphosis", drives a shift in the way amateurs relate to musical content. The rules of listening and interpretation are not immutable. An entire century of music recordings and experiments has already transformed what we expect from music, its creative processes, and the soundscapes and formats that make our everyday musical experience. However, these changes depend on discrete value alterations accumulating over time, and, among other things, on a standardization of traditional codes and more recent practices. In short, as digital schemes develop, the limits of what is acceptable are modified: listening, possessing, sharing or archiving are experiences that are evolving due to streaming technologies, the co-existence of multiple listening devices (personal computer, home stereos, portable music players), and the presence of musical content in social networks. Thus, digitization of music subverts the dominant paradigm of media and medium as a merged whole (tape, acetate, CD), suggesting then the possibility of a new paradigm: that of music as a service and not just a data. We could be going from a product-based society to a society of experience. In order to carry out this project in which cultural sociologists, ethnomusicologists and computer science specialists participate from three partner laboratories (Atlantic Centre of Philosophy at the University of Nantes, Nantes Computing Laboratory ; Arts and Language Research Center at EHESS), we will set three goals: first, to establish a chronological sequence of the "digital turn", bringing about simultaneously a reflective analysis on what it means to take a socio-historical approach on this type of transformation. Second, we seek to understand how the shift from an analog culture to a digital one, as well as the appearance of a “native-digital” generation, may transform our every day musical experience. Finally, we will consider the hypothesis of digital technology (and especially social networks) as a lever of transformation of the traditional paradigms that shape our present understanding of musical taste, legal frameworks for musical consumption and political ideals of democracy through the Internet.

Project coordinator

Monsieur Philippe LE GUERN (Centre Atlantique de Philosophie) –

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.


CRAL Centre de Recherches sur les Arts et le Langage
CAPHI Centre Atlantique de Philosophie
LINA Laboratoire d’Informatique de Nantes Atlantique

Help of the ANR 295,996 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2012 - 36 Months

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