Industry as an ecosystem : the problems of a functionalist analogy

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.

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Plot and conspiracy theories as a belief system

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 focuses 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.

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Un retour sans aller

Dans les dernières semaines, qui suivent le dépôt de mon mémoire, j’ai pu passer du temps en Abitibi et dans les Laurentides histoire de profiter de ma famille et des magnifiques couleurs automnales. L’idée d’écrire ce petit texte m’est venue alors que je contemplais les huit heures de paysage qui séparaient la ville des tous ces villages pittoresques, où les seules résurgences de mon urbanité montréalaise se retrouvait dans les Tim Horton’s qui pavent la 15 et la 117. Je pensais au changement qui se faisait en moi sans que je m’en rende compte; comme quoi le simple fait de quitter la ville m’emmenait ailleurs physiquement, mais surtout mentalement.

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Interviewer’s three positions

Using the interview as a data gathering tool seemed to be an easy thing to do until I did my fieldwork. Manuals say that you must define what kind of interview you want to do and how to adapt: you need to be prepared (so your questions will directly relate to your problematic), be a good listener, and avoid inducing answers from your informants. When it comes to ethnographical interviews, boundaries are blurred since you try to break the artificial position that normally emerges when you conduct a discussion within a sterile context.

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LinkedIn as a part of projective city : strategic networking

I recently subscribed to LinkedIn, wanting to know how video game developers use it as a tool to promote themselves in the developers community. I made my own cv-profile and rapidly got “in touch” with a few of them but I asked myself: hummm….what’s next? Okay, well, I’ve done my CV things but what can I do next? Facebook, for example, gives much more options to interact or share with friends but…wait! They aren’t friends but contacts, professional contacts who insert in a network that celebrate employability. What does it mean?

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