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Option Module: Understanding Cultural Work

In this module you will explore scholarly debates about work in the cultural and creative industries. Through studying theoretical and historical perspectives and empirical examples from research into work in the contemporary media and creative industries you will consider how cultural work been imagined, understood and represented as a particular kind of work. You will engage with significant historical and contemporary theoretical perspectives on the nature of work itself, the place of work in our understanding of human nature and culture, the relations between work and aesthetic/creative forms of cultural production and the broader organisational and policy infrastructures which have come to support and underpin work in the cultural sector. Sometimes understood as the same as or a model for work in the broader economy, and sometimes constructed as distinct and different from other, less ‘special’ forms of work, cultural work has become a significant terrain for academic, industry and policy-oriented research. This module will equip you with the means to navigate this terrain.

There are dedicated sessions on craft, the production of culture perspective, cultural intermediaries, media work and precarious work, cultural labour markets and inequality, the hopeful politics of cultural work, the future of cultural work and representing cultural work.

Illustrative Bibliography

Banks, M., Gill, R. and Taylor, S. (eds) (2013) Theorizing Cultural Work: Labour, Continuity and Change in the Cultural and Creative Industries, London: Routledge.

Becker, H. (2008) Artworlds, 25th Anniversary Edition, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Crawford, M. (2009) The Case for Working With Your Hands, London: Penguin.

Deuze, M. (2007) Media Work, Cambridge: Polity.

Hesmondhalgh, D. and Baker, S. (2011) Creative Labour: Media Work in Three Cultural Industries, London: Routledge.

Luckman, S. (2015) Craft and the Creative Economy, London: Palgrave.

Maguire, J. and Matthews. J. (eds.) (2014) The Cultural Intermediaries Reader, London: Sage.

McRobbie, A. (2016) Be Creative, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Morris, W. (1895) Useful work vs Useless Toil, London: Journeymen Press.

Perlin, R. (2012) Intern nation. London: Verso.

Ross, A. (2009) No Collar: Life and Labour in Precarious Times, London, New York University Press

Srnicek, N. and Williams, A. (2015) Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work, London: Verso

Stahl, M. (2013) Unfree Masters: Recording Artists and the Politics of Work, Durham: Duke University Press

Sholz, T. (ed) (2013) Digital Labor: The internet as playground and factory, London: Routledge

Thompson, J.B (2010) Merchants of Culture, Cambridge: Polity