An ecosystem metaphor is often used to describe an industry as a whole, like a cluster, but having a more “lively” aspect. Montreal’s videogame industry promoters I met while doing my master thesis used the expression to describe the industry’s nature nowadays. It carries a strong living aspect as all parts make a whole organism, appearing to be one of the most valued industry in Montreal. However, as I argued in my master thesis: «We should not limit the ecosystem metaphor to its vivacity; ecosystem can easily be unbalanced and even destroyed by an external change.» (Pineault, 2014: 69) Anthropology’s Functionalists made an extensive use of the organic analogy in their attempts to explain culture and critics have showed its limit. In this short article, I would like to explain why we must be cautious about using the ecosystem to describe an industrial or creative cluster.
My girlfriend and I recently had a discussion with friends who believe that some historical events may not have happened, precisely about the Holocaust, as they used negationists theories. I don’t know if talking about conspiracy theories is initially pejorative (if it is, this is not the tone I intend to use in this article) but the term precisely focus on a knowledge ensemble that refutes common thoughts about different subjects. What struck me is the fact that as long as we talked, we couldn’t agree on anything because we were not on the same scale and this is what I would like to explain here. I will argue that believing (and I carefully chose the word here) in conspiracy theories goes further than facts, it involves a different belief system.