In general, the
concept of propaganda refers to a method as well as the symbolic object
mobilized by it. Propaganda equally
constitutes a particular type of communication that involves not only the
mobilization of objects, but also of discourse, places, acts, and rituals. This essay employs the writings of Max Weber,
Paul Ricœur, Jacques Ellul, and Jacques Rancière to analyze propaganda as a particular
type of symbolic political dispositif linked to a specific performance and
utterance context. I examine
humanitarian songs as a propaganda tool in democracy, and show the
conditions and the limits of their mobilization through their
contextualization. I argue that the link
between music and propaganda could be defined as the willingness of a particular
power or organized opposition to control the symbolic and emotional dimension
of musical works. Through giving the music a meaning in this way, they try to impose a certain social
order or to invalidate other possible political configurations of reality. I discuss the contradiction between the
specific polysemy of musical works and the fictional construction of reality
produced by propaganda, and conclude that the political dimension of music
should not necessarily be reduced to the propaganda dispositif. These musical
works require consideration of the possibilities offered through fiction in
contexts of specific representation, as well as the political dimension of
collaborative musical practices.
fiction, humanitarian songs, music, propaganda, Rancière,
speaking, the concept of propaganda refers to a method as well as the symbolic
object mobilized by this method. It is in
this context that some musical works, and works of art in general, can be
considered as propaganda if the mobilized individual accepts the implicit
ideology in the works or the intentions summoned to activate the opinion of a
group of individuals or to provoke an action.
Propaganda, however, equally constitutes a method of communication that
implicates not only the mobilization of objects, but also the mobilization of
discourse, places, acts, and rituals. What,
then, is the link that supports the methods of propaganda and its symbolic
objects, particularly in musical works and practices? Is it possible to define or analyze what the
characteristics of works meant for propaganda might be? Does music’s polysemic nature not constitute a
sizable problem for a univocal analysis of its use as propaganda? These are the questions that form the basis of
the reflections developed in this essay.
First, I will
endeavor to give a working definition of the concept of propaganda, analyzing
it as a particular type of symbolic political dispositif [mechanism] so
as to better highlight its characteristics as a strategy of domination. The fulcrum of my analysis will be the writings
of Max Weber, Philippe Braud, Paul Ricœur, and Jacques Ellul on political
symbols and propaganda, and the writings of Jacques Rancière and Jerrold
Levinson for the contextual and political analysis of musical works. I will then examine the use of humanitarian
songs in democracy, showing the
conditions and limits of their mobilization.
I will show how, by triggering certain emotions and reinforcing an
imagined neo-colonial scenario, humanitarian songs have contributed to the
de-politicization of certain aspects of contemporary humanitarian action. My discussion of the contradiction between the
specific polysemy of musical works and the construction of a fictional reality through
propaganda leads me to conclude that the political aspect of musical works may
retain its sense without taking the shape of propaganda.
2. Propaganda as a symbolic political dispositif
The concept of
propaganda is extremely vast and problematic.
It has been used in numerous senses and contexts, today holding a
pejorative connotation or mostly being reserved for describing the persuasive
mechanisms of authoritarian or totalitarian regimes. The origin of the word propaganda dates from
the seventeenth century, with Pope Gregory XV’s institutionalization of the Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide (Sacred
Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith) in 1622. This Curial Department’s
objective was the re-conquest of the faithful and the diffusion of Roman Catholic
doctrine in the world. Since the First
World War, propaganda has been institutionalized
by many Western governments, including the United States and the majority of
European countries, which have established ministries to control and focus
information to support and legitimize their war efforts: from the Committee on
Public Information (Creel Committee) in the United States (1917), the Ministry
of Information in Great Britain (1918), and the Commisariat général de la Propagande in France (1918), to the Otdel agitatsii i propagandy in the USSR
(1920) and the Reichsministerium für
Volksaufklärung und Propaganda in Germany (1933). The development of modern methods of
propaganda was clearly not exclusive to authoritarian regimes but used also by
liberal democracies, which continued to use them throughout the twentieth
century to legitimize their power. Ellul has written that “every modern state is
expected to have a Ministry of Propaganda, whatever its actual name may be.” Modern propaganda therefore developed in times
of war to legitimize the military effort and continued afterward to govern and
to impose a certain social order.
be considered as a political legitimization strategy that aims to provoke and
influence a specific group of people. For
Ellul, “propaganda feeds, develops, and spreads the system of false claims.” He defines propaganda as “a set of methods
employed by an organized group that wants to bring about the active or passive
participation in its actions of a mass of individuals, psychologically unified
through psychological manipulations and incorporated in an organization.” He concludes that propaganda provides “a
complete system for explaining the world, and provides immediate incentives to
action” for human beings, organizing a “myth that tries to take hold of the
Thus, the aim of modern propaganda “is
no longer to modify ideas, but to provoke action. … It is no longer to transform an opinion,
but to arouse an active and mythical belief.” This definition is useful when thinking about
the use of symbolic objects for propagandistic ends. However, Ellul expands this definition to almost all
social relations, implying that there is a power relationship when referring to
sociological propaganda: “the group of manifestations by which any
society seeks to integrate the maximum number of individuals into itself, to
unify members’ behavior according to a pattern, to spread its style of life
abroad, and thus to impose itself on other groups.” Ellul's definition becomes problematic for the
analysis of the deployment of propaganda methods because it can be applied to a
large number of diverse institutions or social domains such as education
systems, economic activities, sports, and judicial institutions.
I propose that
propaganda should be thought of as a dispositif that involves one or several
strategies of domination which seek not only to influence but also to cause identification
with and conscious support for a power that is perceived as legitimate, as in
Max Weber’s definition. Such support,
for Weber, is based on shared beliefs that may have rational grounds (legal
authority), traditional grounds (traditional authority), or charismatic grounds
(charismatic authority). These beliefs are part of an ideology, a
“system of representations (ideas, images, feelings, opinions, beliefs) held to
be true by an agent in the position where these beliefs allow him to give
meaning and value to his practices and to the reality which surrounds him.” Ideology’s role as a legitimating force is
pivotal because, as Ricœur states, “no absolutely rational system of legitimacy
exists.” In fact, “the very structure of legitimation
itself ensures the necessary role of ideology, which must bridge the tension
that characterizes the legitimation process, a tension between the claim to
legitimacy made by the authority and the belief in this legitimacy offered by
Propaganda’s effectiveness therefore
rests in its ability to impose beliefs as legitimate (be they conscious or
unconscious), founded on an ideology, in order to provoke an action in a given
In specific cases where propaganda notably calls
upon symbolic objects, it may be considered to be a particular dispositif of symbolic politics: “an ensemble of heterogeneous strategies,
involving the production of symbolic objects and their mobilization in power
relationships, put in place by agents and institutions which aspire to
legitimize or contest a social order.” I will base my discussion on the exploitation
of musical works for purposes of propaganda on this definition, while insisting
on the importance of their aesthetic and historic contextualization, which is
at the heart of specific dispositifs. This approach
focuses on the performance and utterance contexts of musical works as
particular rituals that provide them with a specific significance. In this sense, it is complementary to approaches
developed from the philosophy of language (in particular from speech act theory)
or from moral philosophy, based on the semantic dimension of the message
delivered by the propaganda, as well as approaches developed from the political
economy analysis of mass media in democracy.
3. Ambiguous relations between music and propaganda
One musical work may contain several meanings,
depending on the political rituals from which it is issued, the historical
context of its creation and its reception, and the aesthetic and ideological
discourses surrounding it. It also
involves the efforts of political powers to fix or to maintain at least one of
the possible meanings in a work that is inherently polysemic. Thus, the manipulation
of a musical work’s polysemy through specific political rituals and measures
constitutes one of the primary methods of propaganda, even if the deployment and
reception of musical works at the heart of propaganda dispositifs are never linear and unequivocal. Their effectiveness and even the possibility
of their deployment depend on many historical, aesthetic, and sociological
factors. As Jerrold Levinson asserts,
works of art are directly linked to “the history of their production, to the
artistic contexts in which they are created, as well as the intentions of their
This idea opposes
a vision of relations between works of art and propaganda founded on the
mimetic Platonic tradition, and more particularly on what Rancière calls the pedagogical model of the art’s effectiveness. According to this model, the mimetic
tradition would suppose “a relation of continuity between the aesthetic forms
of artistic production and the aesthetic forms according to which the feelings
and thoughts of those who come by them are affected.” Thus, artistic representations would be “a set
of signs formed according to an artist’s intention.” Indeed, “by recognizing these signs the
spectator is supposedly induced into a specific reading of the world around us,
leading, in turn, to the feeling of a certain proximity or distance, and
ultimately to the spectator’s intervening into the situation staged by the
author.” This model, whose "effectiveness" is difficult
to objectify, would not simply be a basis for propaganda art, but would also be,
as Rancière remarks, the basis for a certain kind of political art that aspires
to contest the contemporary economic and social order: the images and sounds would act directly on
individuals, sometimes without their even realizing it, because they reveal,
indicate, or incite desire so as to direct their thoughts as much as their
contextualist concept that I will defend here, however, the symbolic dimension
of musical works and practices may rest on a text or be intrinsic to its
material, its form, or its musical language according to aesthetic conventions
or artistic traditions. But more often than not, the significance that
power grants to works—nationalist, Nazi, anti-fascist, anti-communist—is
external to musical material or musical language and rests with the actors
according to the context in which it is performed or uttered. On this point, the distinction proposed by
Theodore Gracyk between the semantic properties of songs and their pragmatic
reinvestment is useful: “semantic properties that are fixed by a work’s
musico-historical context constrain but do not fully determine the meaning of
all subsequent performances. … One and
the same work with an established semantic content can be used to do different
things in different performance contexts.” Philippe Braud asserts that the significance
of symbolic objects must be “constructed by a continuous work of regulation and
enrichment of the meaning, carried out at the heart of a group working on an
authority that is seen as legitimate.” This does not mean that music does not itself
carry its own meanings according to its aesthetic characteristics, but rather that
one can invest a piece of work with various—even contradictory—categories and
Therefore, it is difficult to define a priori without taking performance
contexts into consideration. All
propaganda involves censorship to define what is and what is not legitimate,
despite the fact that such censorship on aesthetic criteria can very often be
as problematic as it is paradoxical.
use of musical works is at the heart of symbolic political dispositifs primarily
by their capacity to bring together emotions through a dramatic unity in
political rituals or rituals conducted by the media. Control over musical works and their
reception to avoid their re-appropriation or misappropriation by various agents
is fundamental for any power that uses them as a way of achieving legitimacy. In this sense, without a fine analysis of the
performance and utterance contexts of musical propaganda dispositifs, music’s multiple meanings and interpretations constitute
a sizable problem for a univocal use for propaganda purposes. For example, humanitarian songs in which
emotional mobilization occupies a central place are deployed in complex
legitimation dispositifs to shape a certain
moral vision of the world. Humanitarian
songs reinforce the supposed apolitical nature of the perpetrators of
humanitarian action and its consequences in the medium to long term, making a
head-on political criticism of these dispositifs
difficult, insomuch that this criticism would involve a debate that the
intrinsic urgency of humanitarian action does not allow.
4. Music and propaganda in democracy: the case of humanitarian songs
aid during the famine caused by the Ethiopian civil war between 1983 and 1985, was
held up as proof of the supposed moral superiority of the “West.” Songs played an important role in the symbolic
legitimation of this humanitarian action and the vision of the world that it
Such songs are part of the symbolic
political dispositifs deployed as propaganda, made much more effective because of
their seemingly anodyne and inoffensive nature and their good intentions toward
victims whose lives are at risk. Such
highly visible songs and concerts continue to be used to raise funds and to
legitimate humanitarian action as a response to political and economic issues
in the most of mediatized humanitarian catastrophes to date, including
Hurricane Katrina (2005), the Haitian earthquake (2010) and the Philippines
Haiyan typhoon (2013). Furthermore, in the context of the 2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa, humanitarian songs persist to legitimize charity, humanitarian action, and neo-liberal schemes to 'help' African countries. Thus, my analysis of humanitarian songs as
propaganda in democracy could be extended to consider the relationship between
politics, morality, and aesthetics in other cases of this particular symbolic
In late 1984,
musicians and television and film personalities launched several initiatives
that were mediatized by major national television networks. Among the first to do so was the singer Bob
Geldof, who formed the collective Band Aid in Great Britain and recorded the
song Do They Know It's Christmas? with,
among others, the singers Bono, Phil Collins, and Sting. In July 1985 they organized Live Aid, two
simultaneous concerts in London (Wembley Stadium) and Philadelphia (JFK
Stadium) broadcast live via radio and television that, according to the
organizers, garnered an audience of 1.5 billion, mostly in Europe and North
America. In total, between 1985 and
1991, the project raised at least 144 million dollars, managed by the Band Aid
In the United States, some musicians
came together to form the collective USA for Africa and record the song We Are The World, which rapidly met with
great success. Among the musicians were
Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Lionel Ritchie, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and
Bob Dylan; they sold approximately seven million copies and raised more than 60
In France the
singer Manu Dibango brought together a group of African musicians in late 1984
to record Tam Tam pour l’Éthiopie. Then the French singers Renaud and Valérie
Lagrange formed the association Chanteurs
sans frontières in early 1985 to give
“help to victims of famine in every corner of the world, with no consideration
whatsoever of political or social order, the sole goal being assistance and
charity.” They recorded Chanson pour l’Éthiopie, which
was a great commercial success, and transferred almost all of the funds raised—more
than 1.7 million copies sold, worth more than 3 million euros—to Médecins sans frontières (MSF) to
confront the humanitarian emergency in Ethiopia.
From their beginnings,
humanitarian songs and their music videos have been inescapably accompanied by
discourse (the construction of victim figures), moral injunctions (the
necessity of saving the victims) and mediatized rituals (concerts, artists
appearing on television). All these strategies come together to
constitute a humanitarian musical dispositif,
which is a remarkable example of symbolic politics in democracy. One of the foundations of these dispositifs is the media-based
elaboration of a fiction, which portrays the participation of the artists as
spontaneous, urgent, disinterested, and free.
This fiction is put in place by the discourse issued from the artists
and the media, as well as by the texts in the songs and the artists' actions as
shown in the music videos. Moreover, regardless of the geopolitical
context, all of these humanitarian songs show men and women with headphones on,
pressed into action by the humanitarian “emergency,” singing in front of
microphones in a recording studio to raise funds to rescue the victims. The media discourses are similar: faced with the unbearable suffering of
victims, “we” have had the idea of doing a song for them, for the children of this or that country. Humanitarian songs can therefore be seen as
media-based hymns of liberal democracies, destined to bring together moral
communities that are as ephemeral as they powerless, at a time when
humanitarianism replaces the political ideologies of the twentieth century.
In most media-centered
discourses, the participants in humanitarian songs shrug off the diplomatic and
strategic questions resulting from their participation, creating an impression
of fraternal action which may harm the historical understanding of conflicts
and make the establishment of sustainable political and economic solutions difficult
for the affected populations. In fact, the effectiveness of these humanitarian musical dispositifs is
dependent on transforming political issues into moral issues, hiding the
historical and geopolitical depth of the problems and rendering the
humanitarian intentions immune to attack, since they are morally good, necessary, and urgent. According to Slavoj Žižek, when the media “bombard us with those ‘humanitarian crises’ which seem
constantly to pop up all over the world, one should always bear in mind that a
particular crisis only explodes into media visibility as the result of a
complex struggle. Properly humanitarian
considerations as a rule play a less important role than cultural,
ideologico-political, and economic considerations.”
victimization of certain African populations by the humanitarian involvement of
Band Aid and Chanteurs sans frontières transformed the donor public’s view of
the armed conflict in Ethiopia from a political one to a moral one and the unforeseen
consequences of humanitarian action into a moral issue. As Luc Boltanski shows:
The development of a politics of pity thus assumes two classes which are
not unequal by reference to merit, as in the problematic of justice, but solely
by reference to luck. … For a politics
of pity, the urgency of the action needing to be taken to bring an end to the
suffering invoked always prevails over considerations of justice. From such a perspective it is only in a world
from which suffering has been banished that justice could enforce its rights.
co-founder of Band Aid, received the
Third World Foundation prize in 1986 for his “mammoth personal crusade against human suffering and
human indifference, with which millions the world over identified.” The
Foundation was of the opinion that he had “created a
world-wide community of concerned people.
No longer passive spectators, they had become active participants,
linked around the globe.” Humanitarian
songs have therefore marked the imaginations of several generations, with their cortège
of victims, heroic doctors, and charitable singers.
However, since the 1980s many individuals, such as the
South African poet Khadija Tracey Heeger, have raised concerns about the way in
which such songs reduce recipient populations to the status of victims who are
deprived of all individuality and ability to act. She summarizes her rejection of the pretences
of their lyrics in the introduction of her poem Cheche La Afrika:
I am not just famine and war torn,
I am not just derelict white calcium and ravaged black
I am not here to be the subject of mourning
and a pageant for the ills of colonialism,
apartheid, femicide, genocide, xenophobia.
My blood is thicker than my sorrows.
My blood is thicker than the ink in those history books
that would squander the truth about me
and deck the tables of my children with lies about themselves.
My eyes are open.
I have looked into the fires and in the flames of
The jewels of Africa are revealed.
the political usefulness of humanitarian musical dispositifs is undeniable for the
legitimation of governments in liberal democracies and for installing and maintaining
a certain social order since the end of the Cold War. François Mitterand, the French president from
1981 to 1995, confirmed this in an appearance on the TF1 television show Ça nous intéresse, monsieur le Président
on Sunday April 28, 1985. The host, Yves
Mourosi, interviewed him about the actions of certain singers to raise funds to fight famine
Yves Mourousi: Sing for Africa, sing for Ethiopia, does it do any good in your opinion,
you who are familiar with international organizations? When Renaud and a whole group of French
singers, when Americans sing for Ethiopia, do you have the impression that it
does any good?
François Mitterrand: Yes,
because it creates emotion. All
societies function with emotion. Societies
are not simply mechanisms, and governments and institutions are not machines. Imagination, pity, solidarity, love, they
exist, and if these singers are singing for love with their hands held out to
help save people, then they are doing something useful, believe me.
and cynically raised the fundamental point that musical humanitarian dispositifs are successful because of their
emotional power by referring to the importance of emotions in how a city-state
functions, as well as in how the legitimation of power is obtained. Humanitarian songs have undeniably manipulated
emotions and enabled the development of a politics of pity in the public sphere. After the collapse of the communist regimes
in the East, humanitarianism became a means of action to transform the world here and
now that would be hypothetically freed from the weight of “ideologies,”
while taking the place of the welfare state.
Humanitarian songs, in agreement with the political logic promoted by
humanitarian enterprises, preach help for the less fortunate without regard for
who is responsible in conflicts or in the management of crises, while deploying
a fiction which paints the “victims” as powerless subjects of neoliberal
charity. For Live Aid, Christophe
Pirenne indicates, in contrast to the rock festivals of the 1960s, “it was no
longer a matter of questioning the way that Western society works, but rather
it was a question of treating the wounds of that time while adhering to the
capitalist principle of healing through money.” Such political powers maintain the illusion that
citizens can “do” something to change the world through the spectacle of the
media; donors become consumers of the poverty of others, transformed into
benevolent bearers of charity through the commercial exploitation of moralistic
5. Propaganda, fiction and the political dimension of
propaganda, which acts a vehicle for a defined ideological discourse to
maintain or transform a social order wherever there is a deliberate will to
seduce or to persuade a specific group through various discursive and symbolic strategies.
The ritualization of musical works, such
as in humanitarian musical spectacles, constitutes
one of the most powerful means of using music as a source of propaganda through
its capacity to trigger emotions and to construct imaginary scenarios. This ritualization has the power to shape perceptions
of reality because it presents facts and situations as truth, according to Ellul:
In our time … facts do not assume reality in the people’s eyes unless
they are established by propaganda. Propaganda,
in fact, creates truth in the sense that it creates in men subject to
propaganda all the signs and indications of true believers. For modern man, propaganda is really creating
truth. This means that truth is
powerless without propaganda.
However, as Rancière
highlights, “there is no ‘real world’. Instead,
there are definite configurations of what is given as real, as the object of
our perceptions and the field of our interventions. What is 'real' always is a matter of
construction, a matter of ‘fiction’.” Propaganda’s role, therefore, is one of
fictional construction with a specific political bearing, giving its agents the capacity to act and to
speak, constructing scenarios, and legitimizing a defined political, economic,
and social order. This fiction's power
rests, overall, in its capacity to overwhelm and delegitimize alternative ways
of thinking, alternative ways of looking deeper into reality,
and alternative ways of giving a voice to agents in the public sphere who
previously had none. As Rancière
What characterizes the mainstream fiction of the police order is that it
passes itself off as the real, that it feigns to draw a clear-cut line between
what belongs to the self-evidence of the real and what belongs to the field of
appearances, representations, opinions and utopias. Consensus means precisely that the sensory is
given as univocal. Political and
artistic fictions introduce dissensus by hollowing out that ‘real’ and
multiplying it in a polemical way. The
practice of fiction undoes, and then re-articulates, connections between signs
and images, images and times, and signs and spaces, framing a given sense of
reality, a given "commonsense."
It is a practice that invents new trajectories between what can be seen,
what can be said and what can be done.
polysemic nature is a primary concern in its use for the purposes of propaganda. To be effective, propaganda must remove from
music, or any art, what Rancière calls the aesthetic
distance. It means the capacity of actors to interpret musical works differently from what the artist originally intended, outside of
its initial performance context and exterior to a specific configuration of
communal life: “the suspension of every
determinate relation correlating the production of art forms and a specific
social function.” The link between music and propaganda could
therefore be defined as the willingness of a defined agent or counter-agent to
control the symbolic and emotional dimension of musical works by giving them a
meaning in a particular context so as to impose a certain social order or to
invalidate other possible political configurations of reality. Humanitarian musical dispositifs
impose a moral and a political construction of reality, removing the ‘aesthetic
distance’ of musical works and elaborating a charitable fiction.
consider that it is possible to create musical works with an assumed political
and ethical dimension without having to associate them with a propagandistic dispositif or an overall propaganda system. A full examination of this topic may require
another essay but I think that such works require more
systematic consideration of the possibilities offered through fiction in
contexts of specific representation, as well as of the political dimension of
collaborative musical practices. Such compositional approaches would offer other ways of exploring present actions and make the
fulfillment of collective utopias thinkable, while at the same time accepting
the risk of polysemy and aesthetic distance inherent in each individual's
subjective reception of a work of art.
Luis Velasco Pufleau
Luis Velasco Pufleau is a musicologist, guitarist and composer.
He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of
Salzburg and formerly a postdoctoral fellow at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales
(EHESS, Paris). His research focuses on
aesthetics, political, and ideological issues of twentieth-century and
contemporary music (www.luisvelasco-pufleau.com).
Published on November 25, 2014.
research leading to the present results has benefitted from the financial
support of the École des hautes études en
sciences sociales (EHESS, Paris) as part of the research project Création musicale, censure et politique
symbolique dans les régimes autoritaires et totalitaires. A previous version of
this essay was originally published in French in Music and Propaganda in the Short Twentieth Century, ed.
Massimiliano Sala (Turnhout: Brepols,
2014), pp. 3-15. I would like to thank Mark Chapman and Jillian
Rogers for their help in the English translation of this text. I would also like to thank the two Contemporary Aesthetics anonymous
reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions.
 Michel Foucault defines the dispositif
[mechanism] as “a resolutely heterogeneous ensemble, composed of discourses,
institutions, architectural developments, regulatory decisions, laws,
administrative measures, scientific statements, philosophical propositions,
morals, philanthropies; in what is said and what is not said, these are the
elements of the dispositif. The dispositif
is itself the network that one can establish between these elements. See Michel Foucault,
“Le jeu de Michel Foucault,” in Dits et écrits II: 1976-1988 (Paris: Gallimard, 2001
), pp. 298-329.
 This analysis revisits ideas previously developed in Luis
Velasco Pufleau, “Chansons humanitaires, dépolitisation des conflits et
moralisation des relations internationales à la fin de la Guerre froide,” Relations Internationales, 156 (2014), 109-123.
 Jacques Ellul, Propaganda.
The Formation of Men’s Attitudes (New York: Vintage, 1973 ), p. 20.
Max Weber, Economy and
Society (Berkeley: University of
California Press, 1978 ), pp. 215-254.
 Alain Accardo, Introduction
à une sociologie critique (Marseille: Agone, 2006), p. 21.
 Paul Ricœur, Lectures on
Ideology and Utopia (New York:
Columbia University Press, 1986), p. 13.
 Luis Velasco Pufleau, “Autoritarisme, politique symbolique et
création musicale. Stratégies de
légitimation symbolique dans le Mexique postrévolutionnaire et le Nigeria
postcolonial,” Revue internationale de
politique comparée, 19, 4 (2012), 15.
 ‘Ritual’ is understood here, after Victor Turner and Ronald
Grimes, as “transformative performance revealing major classifications,
categories, and contradictions of cultural processes.” (Victor Turner,
“Process, System and Symbol: A New
Anthropological Synthesis,” Daedalus, 106, 3
 For example, see the theoretical framework proposed by Sheryl
Tuttle Ross in “The Propaganda Power of Protest Songs: the Case of Madison's Solidarity Sing-Along,” Contemporary Aesthetics, 11 (2013) or
the propaganda model developed by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky in Manufacturing Consent: The
Political Economy of the Mass Media (New York: Pantheon Books, 1988).
 Jerrold Levinson, L’art, la
musique, l’histoire (Paris: L’éclat,
1998), p. 7.
 Jacques Rancière, “Les paradoxes de l’art politique,” in Le spectateur émancipé (Paris: La Fabrique, 2008),
 Jacques Rancière, “The paradoxes of political art,” in Steven Corcoran, ed. and trans., Dissensus. On Politics and Aesthetics, (London: Bloomsbury, 2010
 For various examples of this issue see Toby Clark, Art and Propaganda in the Twentieth Century
(Londres: Calmann and King,
 Jerrold Levinson defines aesthetic contextualism as “the claim
that works of art are ontologically, epistemically, and appreciatively bound up
with their contexts of creation and projection.” See Jerrold Levinson,
“Contextualisme esthétique,” Philosophiques, 32, 1
 Theodore Gracyk, “Meanings of Songs and Meanings of Songs
Performances,” The Journal of Aesthetics
and Art Criticism, 71, 1 (2013), 25.
 Philippe Braud, Sociologie
politique (Paris: LGDJ, 2008), p. 53.
 The example of the song "Lili Marleen," sung by both
the Nazi troops and Allied troops during the Second World War with slight
variations in the lyrics, confirms the capacity of different actors in the same
conflict to appropriate musical works and the difficulties faced by the
political authorities in anticipating and controlling these dynamics. On this subject see Rosa Sala Rose, Lili Marleen: Canción
de amor y muerte (Barcelona: Global Rhythm Press,
2008); Christina Baade, “Between the
Lines. ‘Lili Marlene,’ Sexuality,
and the Desert War,” in Susan Fast and Kip Pegley, eds., Music,
Politics and Violence (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 2012),
 For example, see the incoherence of aesthetic criteria in the Nazi
censorship of the Entartete Musik, organized in Dusseldorf in
May 1938 as part of the 1st Congress of the Music of the Reich, where works by
Webern, Stravinsky, Mendelssohn, Mahler, Bartók, Milhaud, and the German
composer Hermann Reutter—the latter being close to the regime—were banned. On this subject see Amaury Du Closel, Les voix étouffées du IIIe Reich. Entartete Musik
(Arles: Actes Sud, 2005); as
well as Laure Schnapper, “Qu’est-ce que la musique ‘dégénérée’?,” in Laurent
Feneyrou, ed., Résistances et utopies
sonores (Paris: Cdmc, 2005), pp. 27-37.
 The concert at Madison Square Garden in New York in 1971, organized by George
Harrison to help the civilian victims of the armed conflict in Bangladesh, constitutes a
precedent for this legitimization.
 This is the case of Bob Geldof’s Band Aid 30 and the remake of their song "Do They Know It’s Christmas?", released on November 17, 2014 (see http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/nov/17/band-aid-30-single-raises-1-million-pounds-within-minutes-x-factor-debut). The French version of this song will be released on December 1, 2014, by the singer Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, wife of the former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. In the current context of Sarkozy’s contest for the Presidency of the French Party Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP), on December 6, 2014, the lead role of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy in this symbolic political dispositif has a manifest propagandistic dimension.
 Other sources cite 225 billion dollars as the actual figure
(Bénédicte Rey, “Band Aid, une vague
de solidarité inégalée qui a servi d’‘impulsion,’” AFP
Infos Mondiales, November 26, 2009).
While the exact sum of money raised is unverifiable, the Band Aid Charitable Trust gives the
figure of 144 million for the period 1985-1991 (http://www.live8live.com/docs/bat-withlovefrombandaid%20.pdf,
consulted the 20th August 2013). Additional
information concerning the division of the funds raised through the sale of Band Aid and Band Aid 20 DVDs and CDs is available on the BBC website. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4055325.stm,
consulted February 20, 2014).
 "Statuts association 'Chanteurs sans frontières'
(Article 2. Objet)," Sous-Préfecture de Boulogne-Billancourt, 12 juin
 La chanson pour l’Éthiopie was
the second most sold hit of the 1980s in France, just behind La danse des canards ("Le top
France des 80’s," Le Parisien,
January 11, 2012).
 For an analysis of the main musical, visual, and discursive
characteristics of humanitarian songs, see Luis Velasco Pufleau, “Chansons
humanitaires, dépolitisation des conflits et moralisation des relations
internationales à la fin de la Guerre froide,” op. cit.
 From the abundant bibliography on this subject, see particularly
Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan, Anthropologie
et développement. Essai en
socio-anthropologie du changement social (Paris: Karthala-APAD, 1995);
Bernard Hours, L’Idéologie humanitaire ou
le spectacle de l’altérité perdue (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1998); Laëtitia Atlani-Duhault
and Laurent Vidal (eds.), Anthropologie
de l’aide humanitaire et du développement (Paris: Armand Colin, 2009); Didier Fassin, La Raison humanitaire. Une histoire morale du temps présent (Paris:
2010); as well as Didier Fassin and Mariella Pandolfi, eds., Contemporary States of Emergency: The Politics of
Military and Humanitarian Interventions (New York:
Zone Books, 2010).
 From among the primary critics concerning the moral and political
implications of humanitarian action, see particularly Bernard Hours, op. cit.
 Slavoj Žižek, Violence: Six Sideways Reflections (London: Profile Books, 2009 ), p. 2.
 Luc Boltanski, Distant
Suffering. Morality, Media and Politics
(Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1999 ), p. 5.
 “Third World Foundation News: 1986 Third World Prize,” Third World Quarterly, 9, 2 (1987), 699.
 “Third World Foundation News: 1987
Third World Lecture,” Third World Quarterly, 9, 3 (1987), 1044.
 Khadija Tracey Heeger, Cheche
La Afrika (extract), reproduced in the program for the Cape Cultural
Collective presented on October 8 and 9, 2013 at Maison de la Poésie in Paris as part of the 42nd Festival d’Automne à Paris (Autumn
Festival in Paris).
 Christophe Pirenne, Une
histoire musicale du rock (Paris: Fayard, 2011), p. 442.
 Jacques Ellul, Propaganda.
The Formation of Men’s Attitudes, op.
cit., p. 235.
 Jacques Rancière, “The paradoxes of political art,”
op. cit., p. 148.