‘cool, creative and egalitarian’ (Gill)

Oakley covers many of the issues of working in the cultural sector reporting mainly on the work of other academics. I thought it might be useful to capture this in a list which compares ‘work for life’ with the ‘socialised worker’. This is particularly important for the cultural worker / entrepreneur but also for the rest of the workforce, as it is suggested that this model could be a template for new modes of working. In fact, what I have done is less of a comparison but more of means of thinking about the difficulties of the freelance / portfolio career – the pros and cons.

Work for life – typical post war job for life

Large corporation


Lack of freedom – but security

Unions – rights of workers are represented

Secure pay

Low risk

Redundancies in a recession

Stuck in one job – fewer opportunities for continuous learning (?)

‘narative sociality’ – networks based on stability and shared concerns

Clear distinctions between work and social life (and working hours)

Formal channels for access to work – fostering equal opportunities

Trust and good working relationships important but less critical

The city / wider environment less important

Lack of opportunities for promotion

In house training and support for professional development

Passion for your work is less important

Socialised worker – typical freelance career

Freelance / short term contracts

Lack of unions (generally) – rights are not represented

Risky – but manageable through the formation of networks

work ‘for the love of it’

Highly networked – relies on personal contacts (affective labour)

Independent or the illusion of autonomy

Freedom – but at a cost

Creative Class (Florida) – tolerance, creativity

Portfolio career – continuous learner

‘network sociality’ – based on instrumental friendships as resources for potential work

Blurring of work and social life (work when it suits you; 72 hour working week)

Informal channels to work (it’s who you know) – leading to possible inequalities

Importance of trust and strong networks are key

The city and ‘hanging out’ is important – a need for informal exchange (untraded interdependencies)

‘Precariat’ (Gill and Pratt)  ( insecure work and proletariat) as a new social class

Working conditions – exploitation and increase of unpaid work

Casualisation of labour can result in faster promotion

No in-house training – responsible for own CPD

Passion for your work – extraordinary passion & enthusiasm for work is evident

Potential for self-realisation (McRobbie)

Artistic ‘traditions’ of self exploitation

Gendered aspect of ‘compulsory’ socialising

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