Article | Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research | Beyond the Model Worker: Surveying a Creative Precariat

Title:
Beyond the Model Worker: Surveying a Creative Precariat
Author:
Greig de Peuter: Department of Communication Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Canada
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.146263
Read article:
Full article (pdf)
Year:
2014
Volume:
6
Theme:
Theme: Capitalism: Current Crisis and Cultural Critique Edited by Johan Fornäs

Pages:
263-284
No. of pages:
22
Publication type:
Article
Published:
2014-02-20


The figure of the self-reliant, risk-bearing, non-unionised, self-exploiting, always-on flexibly employed worker in the creative industries has been positioned as a role model of contemporary capitalism. Although the notion of the model-worker is a compelling critical diagnostic of the self-management of precarity in post-Fordist times, I argue that it provides an insufficient perspective on labour and the so-called creative economy to the extent that it occludes the capacity to contest among the workforces it represents. Informed by a larger research project, this article thematises salient features of select collective responses to precarity that are emerging from workers in nonstandard employment in the arts, the media, and cultural industries. The discussion is structured in three main parts: the first, ag-gregation, identifies initiatives in which employment status – rather than a specific profession or sector – is the basis of assembly and advocacy; the second, compensation, highlights unpaid work as a growing point of contention across sectors; and the third, occupation, describes cases in which precarious cultural workers are voicing their grievances and engaging in direct action in the context of wider social movements. These dimensions of the contemporary response to precarisation in the creative industries are at risk of being overlooked if the research optic on workers’ strategies is focused upon a single sector or a particular profession. In conclusion, I emphasise that the organisations, campaigns, and proposals that are surveyed in this article are marked by tensions between and among accommodative adaption, incremental improvements, and radical reformism vis-à-vis precarity.

Keywords: Labour; precarity; creative industries; cultural workers; resistance

Volume 6, Theme: Theme: Capitalism: Current Crisis and Cultural Critique Edited by Johan Fornäs

, Article 15, 2014

Author:
Greig de Peuter
Title:
Beyond the Model Worker: Surveying a Creative Precariat:
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.146263
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Volume 6, Theme:: Theme: Capitalism: Current Crisis and Cultural Critique Edited by Johan Fornäs

, Article 15, 2014

Author:
Greig de Peuter
Title:
Beyond the Model Worker: Surveying a Creative Precariat:
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.146263
Note: the following are taken directly from CrossRef
Citations:
  • Joke Hermes, Karel Koch, Nicolette Bakhuise & Pauline Borghuis (2017). This is My Life: The Stories of Independent Workers in the Creative Industries in the Netherlands. Javnost - The Public, 24(1): 87. DOI: 10.1080/13183222.2017.1280892
  • Cyprien Tasset (2017). Identifying as a precarious knowledge worker in France. Ambivalences and variations. SOCIOLOGIA DEL LAVORO, (145): 151. DOI: 10.3280/SL2017-145009
  • Marisol Sandoval (2017). From passionate labour to compassionate work: Cultural co-ops, do what you love and social change. European Journal of Cultural Studies, : 136754941771901. DOI: 10.1177/1367549417719011
  • Sean Doody, Victor Tan Che & Jesse Goldstein (2016). Varieties of Entrepreneurial Capitalism: The Culture of Entrepreneurship and Structural Inequalities of Work and Business Creation. Sociology Compass, 10(10): 858. DOI: 10.1111/soc4.12407
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