Cultural work and antisocial psychology
DOI link for Cultural work and antisocial psychology
Cultural work and antisocial psychology book
Scholars have sometimes observed that, as work of many types has been increasingly experienced as indivisible from self-expression and self-fulﬁlment, artists have been imagined as models for all workers (Boltanski and Chiapello 2005: 422; Sholette 2010: 134). However, little research accounts for how particular ideas about artists’ work have exerted their inﬂuence – ideas about its ﬂourishing in unstable conditions, or about its relationship to economies of competition and prestige, for example. That what circulate are not simple facts about artists but rather aspects of a discrete aesthetic ideology with its own rich and contentious history is often ignored. This chapter considers one feature of this history. It argues that since the early 1950s inﬂuential psychologists and management theorists have tended to present the study of artists as straightforward evidence that the social is a form of constraint to be transcended by the eﬀective working self. Their work has had implications for how art is perceived and for how work is organized. They have depended upon and reinforced the notion that making art is the fundamentally insular expression of one’s personally directed passionate devotion to ‘the task itself ’, ‘the materials at hand’, or simply ‘the work’; and they have formed and circulated models of good work as a ﬂexible and self-suﬃcient enterprise averse to social responsibility, human interdependence and collective politics.