Professional identity and media work
DOI link for Professional identity and media work
Professional identity and media work book
This chapter examines the particularities and (potential) consequences of labour individualization in the creative industries, with speciﬁc reference to the ways in which cultural workers self-deﬁne a professional identity. It could very well be argued that there is something special about working in the creative industries. Yet, as models for working and being at work across industrial sectors converge under equivalent conditions of a global creative economy, the distinctive nature of cultural work seems to become more generic for labour across the spectrum. This makes the study and theoretization of cultural work a project uniquely situated in the here and now of rapid technological developments, a global reconﬁguration of labour relationships (what Toby Miller and Marie-Claire Leger call a New International Division of Cultural Labour, 2001), and ever-increasing precarity of media work (Deuze 2007). At the same time, many of the trends that can be highlighted about the lived experience of cultural work extend to the nature of work in general, and upon closer scrutiny do not seem to be particular to our time. The economy has been stretching across national and continental boundaries for many years – a process ampliﬁed through the development and implementation of information and communication technologies since at least the early 20th century (Beniger 1989). The current popularity among businesses and the political establishment of creativity and a creative economy to some extent is rooted in a shift towards post-material values across Western cultures since at least the early 1970s, signiﬁed by a prioritization of life goals such as belonging, esteem, and aesthetic and intellectual satisfaction (Inglehart 2008: 132). Part of this long-term shift is the conﬂation of labour and work with value priorities such as individual self-expression and selfrealization. In other words, it is quite commonplace for (especially younger) workers to think of their job or career as a vehicle to become who they ‘really’ are rather than – or next to – earning them a paycheque and giving them some control over their ﬁnancial future. Those engaged in cultural work – which we deﬁne in the context of our contribution broadly as anyone engaged in the professional production of culture within the context of the creative industries – can arguably be seen to be at the forefront of these trends.