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Narrative re-enchantement as world re-enchantement

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« Le réenchantement du récit radiophonique comme réenchantement du monde », colloque international « Radio et narration°: Le réenchantement ? », GRER, Bruxelles, 19-20 novembre 2010

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Narrative re-enchantement as world re-enchantement

  1. 1. Narrative re-enchantement as world re-enchantement Sebastien Poulain CESSP Université Paris 1 - Panthéon-Sorbonne GRER 1 Le réenchantement du récit radiophonique comme réenchantement du monde Colloque international « Radio et narration°: Le réenchantement ? », GRER, Bruxelles, 19-20 novembre 2010
  2. 2. In this communication, I will try to explain how narrative re-enchantement can be analyzed as a form of world re-enchantement. We will see first narrative metamorphoses in contemporary society, then how Radio Ici et Maintenant (Radio Here and Now) tries to re-enchant this narrative and this world. 2
  3. 3. I The metamorphoses of contemporary narrative We will see that the end of "grand narratives" and its disenchanting consequences gave a way to a multitude of "little narratives" to re-enchant. 3
  4. 4. A) The end of "° grand narratives °“ Liberal and democratic societies, at least some of its ideologues, theorists and crusaders, have felt free from all forms of despotism, religious, superstition. With the end of communist, totalitarian, religious or structuralist "grand narratives“, liberal democratic societies would finally be free, independent, rational. Contemporary society has therefore become one in which we can not "tell stories". 4
  5. 5. B) The flowering of "small stories“ The “end of narrative” can be considered as a narrative. People love narrative as we can see in fiction or journalistic “facts”. “Storytelling” is a form of discourse that can be found in all sectors of society. Christian Salmon uses “new narrative order” concept. 5
  6. 6. For instance : scentific paradigm : Materialistic and rationalist Enlightenment narrative has been imposed officially. But some people continue to have different point of view on this subject : “intelligent design”, New Age… 6
  7. 7. The narrative is constitutive of individual and social group identity. It’s a kind of anthropological invariant, a functional human need. It provides a sense of belonging by injecting sense. So it can re-enchant the daily life that may seem boring and trivial. 7
  8. 8. Radio, that mixes sound and discourse narrative, has an important position for this narrative expansion. Radio Ici et Maintenant, which is a New Age and Parisian radio, can be defined as "narrative machine". 8
  9. 9. II Radio Ici et Maintenant narrative re-enchantement Radio Ici et Maintenant produces a political and religious re- enchantement A) Political re-enchantement Radio Ici et Maintenant gives 2 ways for Political re-enchantement : -Talking politics -Political interpretation 9
  10. 10. -Talking politics Radio Ici et Maintenant, which was a “free radio”, gives lot of time for freedom of expression to its listeners. So listeners can remake the world night and day. This can have cathartic and performative effects but also re-enchantement effects. 10
  11. 11. -Political interpretation Radio Ici et Maintenant doesn’t do politics directly but invites activists, show power : relations of domination, modes of reproduction of the dominant, political communication strategies... Animators, guests and listeners don’t rely on policy makers and make conspiracy theories. For them, the real power is not where we can think. This can have re-enchantement effects. 11
  12. 12. But this re-enchatement is disenchanted because politics seem to be completely sclerotic. So Radio Ici et Maintenant tries to find other ways to re-enchant the world: religious re-enchentement. 12
  13. 13. B) Religious reenchantment Facing contemporary society described in terms of "disenchantment of the world", Radio Ici et Maintenant tries to reenchant through the promotion of New Age theories. 13
  14. 14. Contemporary "world disenchantment“ “World disenchantment“ is the fact that traditional religious institution have less impact on society. But materialistic and rationalist Enlightenment narrative is not enough consistant for people. Nature and human nature resist to materialism and rationalism. And people still need philosophy, religion, mataphysic… They need to make sens, to re- enchant the world. 14
  15. 15. To re-enchant this world, Radio Ici et Maintenant promotes New Age theories by inviting psychics, astrologers, healers, therapists and other energy providers, who promote this ideology. 15
  16. 16. Religious re-enchantment by the New Age theories New Age is "nebulous“ religious ideology from "Contemporary Religious Movements" prophesying the advent of a new age of universal harmony through the synthesis of philosophy and Eastern and Western religions, the American contra-culture and the Western esoteric and spiritualist tradition. 16
  17. 17. It attempts to synthesize tradition and modernity, physiology and psychology, atheism and theosophy, science and religion ... Rather than rejecting completely religions, New Age prefers unification and keep their spirituality, their mystery and message, for example, the Christian message of love. 17
  18. 18. New Age re-enchants the world by revisiting human history, religious history and science history. For new agers, everything is alive, everything is animated, everything has a soul, everything speaks, everything makes sense, everything communicates, everything is connected. New Age tries to give a scientific basis for spirituality and a spiritual basis for science. 18
  19. 19. To conclude : Our relationship to the political and religious things change constantly in order to change and re-enchant the world. Radio Ici et Maintenant is a kind of radiophonic institution which uses New Age narrative to re-enchant the world. Radio seems to be perfect for narrative re-enchantement because our imagination is completely necessary. sebastien.poulain@gmail.com 19

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