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L'État acide : analyse psychosociale des minorités rock

Abstract : The Ph.D thesis, The Acid State: Psychosocial Analysis of Rock Minorities, is divided into two volumes, the first volume (532 pages) consisting of four parts (1. The Acid State (theoretical construction of the reading grid and methodology; 2. The Shadow of the underground (presentation of the living environment of these amateur groups; 3. The Rock Fluid (study of the representations and rituals of creation/diffusion); 4. The public mystery (analysis of the representations of the message, of audiences among musicians and of rock among teenagers - in particular: results of the quantitative study among high school students). The annexes (second volume, 405 pages) include all the statistical data, questionnaires, observation grids and interview guides, the thematic table for content analysis, multiple correspondence analysis, and hierarchical ascending classifications (cluster analysis). The main field of empirical observations on which this Ph.D thesis is based is that of the so-called “Parking 2000”, the fourth basement of a collective car garage, under a tower, on the Porte of Aubervilliers side, in 19th district Paris. In this underground space, in the literal and figurative sense of the term, more than one hundred and thirty groups rented premises, summarily fitted out by the car park manager (walls mounted on the car parking spaces, doors installed in haste, high rents). The residents of this building refused to put their cars in the 4th basement for safety and health reasons, hence the diversion of these spaces for artistic use by the manager. The field research, on which the doctoral thesis is based, is organised around several types of observations, both quantitative and qualitative, standardised and/or phenomenological. 1.In-depth field work of the "participant observation" type (peripheral observation, active participation in group activities, membership of a post-punk experimental rock band, collection of iconographic and textual data), from November 1979 to December 1986. 2.A study by group interviews (44 transcribed in full), with about forty collective entities, with thematic and lexical content analysis, from November 1979 to December 1986. 3.A quantitative survey by group questionnaires (106 responding entities), focusing on a socio-demographic description of these populations and on the representation of failure/success, the record, concerts and the music market at the time, from January to December 1985. 4.A quantitative survey using individualised questionnaires (281 subjects) among high school students (15-18 years old) in three high schools in the east of Paris, focusing on more than one hundred and one variables, from December 1985 to February 1986. The analytical grid developed attempts to account for the processes of social recognition of amateur groups (referred to in the thesis as “rock minorities”). These groups, with little social visibility, sometimes with low technical and musical expertise, were regularly not very viable commercially (except for a few of them, such as Les Innocents, Les Porte-Mentaux, Parabellum, to name just three that have since made a career in French rock). The ambivalence of these ordinary and heterogeneous musicians has been formalised by their social origin, by constructing an analytical grid known as the “acid state”. This notion metaphorically describes the experience of socialisation of these minorities, characterised by their relative anomic and ambivalent state. Indeed, these amateur groups did not know how to clearly define the objectives to be reached, hesitating between those of show business (success, media, record sales, celebrity) and the goal of elaborating a motto, a repertoire, representing their own normative and artistic capacity, fulfilling a destiny of self-management. These rock minorities were anomic and ambivalent because they depended heavily on the “public gaze”, while at the same time strongly denying it: self-description of their activity by qualifiers of authenticity and the need for social recognition, validation of their itinerary. The stylistic code of these minorities was therefore both internal and external to them. The style-currency of such groups is conceived as a project, a goal to be reached and a current issue of social visibility. The acid state, resulting from this creative/communicational tension, thus manifested itself through various phenomena, including the confusion in the definition of collective goals, the activation of an experience of trance and social effervescence (partying, possession, drug addiction, musical fluid, crowd effects) and, above all, an uncontrollable and sometimes agreed upon heterodoxy and rebellious tendency. The data on young high school students show that rock practices were (and still are) of a post-adolescent type, while at the same time they are still in a state of flux.
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Contributor : Jean-Marie Seca <>
Submitted on : Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 8:14:11 PM
Last modification on : Friday, November 20, 2020 - 3:28:12 AM


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Jean-Marie Seca. L'État acide : analyse psychosociale des minorités rock. Sciences de l'Homme et Société. Université de Paris-X Nanterre; EHESS-Paris, 1987. Français. ⟨tel-03015451⟩



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