Mme Monique Dagnaud, sociologue des médias, Cahiers de l'association En Temps Réel , numéro 16, octobre 2004 - 2004/10
In an attempt to strike a balance between creation and commerce, France has adopted a number of legal and financial instruments made sacred by the favoured expression of "the cultural exception," an expression that serves French exceptionalism. For some, these measures-which are nothing exceptional since they exist according to other modalities elsewhere-are considered measures to safeguard a threatened identity. For others, they are merely outdated means intended to flatter the French ego and certain special interests.
In exploring cultural exception mechanisms, Mrs. Dagnaud's study seeks to break free from this narrow-minded perspective. It's not about being "for" or "against" the cultural exception. The real issue is knowing how to truly take advantage of it and, rather than abandoning it, we need to shift the emphasis of its mechanisms. Who benefits from the cultural exception? Mrs. Monique Dagnaud, a media sociologist and former member of the Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel français, analyzes "the three pillars of the patron state," namely, the government support fund (449 million Euros broken down into 54% for film and 46% for television), the quota system, and support measures for independent production. In her study, she describes the programs that benefit from cultural exception aid: film, televised fiction and documentaries. For non-fiction programs such as game shows, reality TV, or shows primarily filmed on-set do not receive government aid. This bias towards film, which was called abusive from the start, is amplified on television, where only fictional shows and documentaries are defined at creative works, and everything else is excluded.
Dagnaud has come to believe that more than it promotes creation, the cultural exception stimulates an industry that, in television, operates according to peer networks between producers and broadcasters. To compensate for the drawbacks of cultural exception measures, she proposes "strengthening public television", re-evaluating the strategic choices the policy led by the government support fund, and promoting "non-fiction programming that is more innovative and aimed at the citizen." ( Available in French ).