Assignment 4


Discourse analysis II is the second type of discourse analysis provided by Rose. This very type of discourse analysis relies more than ever on the precise study of the institutions and the social practices that are carried out in a particular form of discourse. It can consists in visual, concretized or rather symbolic norms and conventions that ensure a situation of power and a form of domination. At least a particular organization and order. It relies according to Foucault on two dimensions :

  • an institutional apparatus : it can consists in architecture, laws, moral values, expert reflections…
  • the institutional technologies : it refers to the concrete and practical techniques used to pracise that power/that knowledge, and to ensure its prosperity

I personally interested myself to the concert halls. I went to a concert on friday (April 28th) in Lyon, France, and had the occasion to analyze the discourse developped throughout this institution, and how power and dominance is exercise there.

Apparatus :

The first implicite rule/convention to be followed was the queue to be followed in order to enter the place. The fact that you’re not expected to have a bottle of whatever liquid in your bag is also another apparatus. Then the visitor has to proceed as followed : make his ticket validated, pass by the merch store, the bar and then the actual concert hall.This is the final destination of the individual which show the symbolic importance of the place. Here, a music is played in background for the people to wait the band to play.

However, at the moment when the music stops and the lights start to go down, everyone start to behave on a very different manner from before. They start to group themselves in front of the stage, sometimes encouraging the band, shouting and so on… The symbol conveyed by this apparatus is that the moment has come for the behaviour to change and to start acting as a concert’s spectator, that is to say to be the receptor of a symbolic musical and visual stimulations.

The condition of the spectator is underlined by his position in the crowd, facing the stage where the musicians are, having to deal with the complementary role and expectation to play music. Hence the fact that the spectator is expected to watch the show, and will be criticized if he does not, since it breaks the tacit conventions of this cultural event.

At the end of the show, spectators are expected to leave the hall, and either going to the merch stand, or to the bar.

Technologies :

Many technologies are developped to achieve the discourse of the concert hall’s discourse. At the gates of the concert hall, a security guard is checking the spectator’s tickets, their bags and searching for eventual weapons or dangerous items. The meaning carried out is that this is a place of surveillance and order, even beyond the cultural dimension of the event. Guards are also placed in the concert hall controlling the good behaviour of the spectators.

They also guarantee that the spectator won’t get on stage (or at least not for too long) to ensure that they keep their condition of spectator and fit the expectations required. The separation between artists and the crowd is symbolized by many ways, notably by hidding and forbidding the access of the artists’s boxes. Their position is idolized through various process such as smoke, lights, strobes and other effects to give a spectacular dimension. The goal is to construct the artist as something beyond-human, which would then be worth watching for one hour and a half from the spectator’s point of view.



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