This article suggests that the scholarly writing on scenes is marked by a divergence between two ways of conceiving a scene. “Open” conceptualizations of a scene treat them as broader manifestations of urbanity, as part of the theatricality of city life. A “scene”, in this sense, is engaged in the instilling, within city-dwellers, of the values and ethical protocols of urbanity. “Restricted” conceptions of a scene regard them as the forms of organization which surround particular cultural forms, like genres of music. However much one might imagine a reconciliation of these ways of conceiving scene, each has generated its own traditions of research and each mobilizes distinct domains of cultural analysis. Each, as well, presumes different ways of thinking about the visibility of scenes.
This article proposes a general theory of urban scenes. Urban scenes are positioned
here as mutidimensional vectors of meanings embedded into concrete local practices. The
article presents methods of empirical measure of urban scenes, and also wants to show how
some of the latter provide a suitable environment for new social movements (NSM). In spite
of the universalist and cosmopolitanism dimensions of NSM, their dynamics and supports are
closely rooted in the specific qualities of local contexts.
Since 2005, the Montreal music scene has been celebrated in a few occasions.
Maintaining its liveliness has become a challenge for local actors. Based on this interest
for the permanence of the scene, this article focuses not only on its spatial inscription,
but also and especially on its temporal dimension. How is maintained a scene on a
territory ? What choices are made about what should be maintained or not ? Suggesting that a
work of alliance is needed to successfully maintain, stabilize and preserve the identity of
a local cultural scene through time, this article takes a look at efforts in this direction
by the Montreal emerging music scene. It focuses specifically on a forum set up in 2010 to
discuss ways to ensure the continuity of the scene : the Alliance pour le soutien aux
Based on the case of techno, this paper analyzes the notions of subculture and tribe in French and Anglo-Saxon works. Putting aside the debate between neotribe and subcultural modes of affiliation, we then focus on the notion of local scene that is referred to as a social world. Spatial, socio-cultural and political dimensions are taken into account in analyzing of the emergence of a local scene. We focus on a dynamic approach able to apprehend its possible structuring or destructuring. We argue that the stability of a local scene depends on coordination and conventions that regulate activities.
What are the geographical limits of a local scene ? How these actors act as «
performative agents « in the perception of territorial space recomposed by music ? It is
thus a question of demonstrating the interest to bring out of a vision in isolation local
scenes, to be interested in the travels of those who practise them (musicians, public), in
the way Guy Di Méo (1996) proposes a sociocultural geography of the « territories of the
everyday life « .
The demonstration bases on the observation of the travels of the amateurs of heavy
metal music stemming from three French regions, worth knowing Lorraine, Nord-Pas-de-Calais
and the neighborhood of Rennes and Nantes. The study leans on an empirical material compound
of quantitative and qualitative data.
The study of cultural scenes in the early 1990s has rapidly been assimilated to the field of popular music studies, in an attempt to find an alternative to the notions of counter-culture and subculture. The polysemy and plasticity of the term have given way to often disparate efforts at thematizing the sonority or « sound » of a city. Whereas sound does provide rhythm and effervescence to urbanity, doesn’t images also provide, beyond a mere decor, a proper life to, and embodiement of, the city ? This article provides a reflection on the concept of scene from the somewhat neglected angle of the visual culture studies. How does images become performative, and come to stage in forming a cultural overproduction ? How does the circulation of images generate new experiences of sociality ? Taking examples from street art and calligraffiti in Montreal – together with echoes in Paris, Beyruth and Tunis. As an articulation of the local, the translocal and of the virtual, these emergent practices allow us to understand how the circulation and visibility of images can generate new political and cultural codes and stakes, in the new contemporary context of cultural heterogeneity, artistic hybridization and social controversies.
A music scene can be defined as a cultural space delimited on a territory by a set of activities, places and institutions in relation to a common musical culture. Popular music is not only bounden to a space of social practices and representations, but also to political and economic spaces in which a multitude of public policies intervene. More broadly, a cultural scene reveals the diversity of regulations implemented that participate in its shaping – while the latter are not always defined as instruments of cultural governance. The cultural industries, which play a central role in local and translocal cultural dynamics are, however, largely absent from the various studies on cultural policies. Drawing on three field studies (in Paris, Sydney, Québec), we show that public interventions towards popular music are based solely on two registries of action – the social and economics – which ultimately questions the aims of cultural interventionism.
The explanatory value of the concept of scenes is fruitful if we consider that the existence of artistic scenes and the competition they establish between themselves at the international level have influenced first rank political decisions. Such was the case with the nomination of Jean Vilar at the Théâtre national populaire in 1951, in the context when the European theatrical scene was being structured around other prominent theatrical venues such as the Piccolo teatro, founded by Giorgio Strehler in Milan in 1948, or the Berliner Ensemble, founded and directed by Brecht in 1949. Such was also the decision to create an Art Center on the plateau of Beaubourg by the French president Pompidou, at the time when Paris was losing its status of international capital of the arts, to the profit of an artistic effervescence in New York and elsewhere in Europe (Kassel, Darmstadt, Cologne, Düsseldorf), in cities which were establishing between themselves in the 1970s a merciless competition in arts and culture.