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.
What is it like to work as a classical musician today? How can we explain ongoing gender, racial, and class inequalities in the classical music profession? What happens when musicians become entrepreneurial and think of themselves as a product that needs to be sold and marketed? Gender, Subjectivity, and Cultural Work explores these and other questions by drawing on innovative, empirical research on the working lives of classical musicians in Germany and the UK. Indeed, Scharff examines a range of timely issues such as the gender, racial, and class inequalities that characterise the cultural and creative industries; the ways in which entrepreneurialism – as an ethos to work on and improve the self – is lived out; and the subjective experiences of precarious work in so-called ‘creative cities’. Thus, this book not only adds to our understanding of the working lives of artists and creatives, but also makes broader contributions by exploring how precarity, neoliberalism, and inequalities shape subjective experiences. Contributing to a range of contemporary debates around cultural work, Gender, Subjectivity, and Cultural Work will be of interest to scholars and students in the fields of Sociology, Gender and Cultural Studies.