Dissertation Abstracts

The musical field in Paris and Berlin : a sociology of music venues and their bookers

Author: Picaud, Myrtille , myrtille.picaud@hotmail.fr
Department: Sociology
University: Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, France
Supervisor: Gisèle Sapiro
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: French

Keywords: music , cultural intermediaries , cultural field , transnational
Areas of Research: Arts , Local-Global Relations , Professional Groups


This PhD compares the musical fields in Paris and Berlin. All musical genres are considered, and the music venues (bars, clubs, squats, concert halls, stadiums…) in both cities are examined: how is music experienced in these different places? Combining multi-sited ethnography during concerts and a statistical analysis of the characteristics of the venues (economic model, capacity, type of musical programming, localization in the city etc.) allows an in-depth understanding of both cities’ musical fields. The social, professional and musical trajectories of the bookers in these venues complements this approach, emphasizing how these cultural intermediaries inscribe international circulations of music in a specific urban territory, with different political and institutional histories.
The thesis apprehends music at different scales. During the concerts, music appears as an individual and collective event. Within the city, this analysis enables a comparison between the levels of cultural legitimacy conferred to the different musical genres, and the venues (and audiences) they are attributed to. Finally, the comparison between Berlin and Paris emphasizes the transnational circulations of artists and the social and cultural representations that are entertained about both capitals.

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