Theorizing Cultural Work
Labour, Continuity and Change in the Cultural and Creative Industries
Edited by Mark Banks, Rosalind Gill, Stephanie Taylor
Routledge – 2014 – 210 pages
In recent years, cultural work has engaged the interest of scholars from a broad range of social science and humanities disciplines. The debate in this ‘turn to cultural work’ has largely been based around evaluating its advantages and disadvantages: its freedoms and its constraints, its informal but precarious nature, the inequalities within its global workforce, and the blurring of work–life boundaries leading to ‘self-exploitation’.
While academic critics have persuasively challenged more optimistic accounts of ‘converged’ worlds of creative production, the critical debate on cultural work has itself leant heavily towards suggesting a profoundly new confluence of forces and effects. Theorizing Cultural Work instead views cultural work through a specifically historicized and temporal lens, to ask: what novelty can we actually attach to current conditions, and precisely what relation does cultural work have to social precedent? The contributors to this volume also explore current transformations and future(s) of work within the cultural and creative industries as they move into an uncertain future.
This book challenges more affirmative and proselytising industry and academic perspectives, and the pervasive cult of novelty that surrounds them, to locate cultural work as an historically and geographically situated process. It will be of interest to students and scholars of sociology, cultural studies, human geography, urban studies and industrial relations, as well as management and business studies, cultural and economic policy and development, government and planning.
1. Introduction: Cultural Work, Time and Trajectory by Mark Banks, Rosalind Gill and Stephanie Taylor Part One: Histories 2. Precarious Labour Then and Now: The British Arts and Crafts Movement and Cultural Work Revisited by Susan Luckman 3. Cultural Work and Antisocial Psychology by Sarah Brouillette 4. Hired Hands, Liars, Schmucks: Histories of Screenwriting Work and Workers in Contemporary Screen Production by Bridget Conor 5. Absentee Workers: Representation and Participation in the Cultural Industries by Kate Oakley Part Two: Specificities/Transformations 6. Specificity, Ambivalence, and the Commodity Form of Creative Work by Matt Stahl 7. How Special? Cultural Work, Copyright, Politics by Jason Toynbee 8. Logistics of Cultural Work by Brett Neilson 9. Learning from Luddites: Media Labor, Technology and Life Below the Line by Richard Maxwell and Toby Miller 10. Presence Bleed: Performing Professionalism Online by Melissa Gregg Part Three: Futures 11. Feminist Futures of Cultural Work? Creativity, Gender and Difference in the Digital Media Sector by Sarah B. Proctor-Thomson 12. Creativity, Biography and the Time of Individualization by Lisa Adkins 13. Professional Identity and Media Work by Mark Deuze and Nicky Lewis 14. Theorizing Cultural Work: An Interview with the Editors by Andrew Ross. References.
Mark Banks is Reader in Sociology in the Faculty of Social Sciences at The Open University, UK.
Rosalind Gill is Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at King's College London.
Stephanie Taylor is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Open University, UK.