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What does class mean for the ‘creative’ class?

Dr Dave O'Brien (Goldsmiths College)

Despite numerous attempts by academic, media and policy to highlight issues associated with class in contemporary culture, progress in tackling inequality consumption or production has been uneven and haphazard. Whilst much of the literature and policy response has looked at institutional or structural factors, this paper focuses on the complicated place of class in individuals’ narratives of themselves and their jobs. The paper uses the case study of acting to show how class is at once distant and at the same time central to understanding the cultural worker, as its embrace and also its refusal is an important element of their identity. The analysis allows for a reflection on the intersection of narratives of class as a desire for ordinariness, the disavowal of privilege and also as a vitally important category for understanding both the identities and working practices of the actors, and thus the ‘creative class’, interviewed as part of the study.