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Normativity and Social Justice in the Analysis of Creative Labour

Hesmondhalgh, D (2010) Normativity and Social Justice in the Analysis of Creative Labour. Journal for Cultural Research, 14 (3). ISSN 1740-1666

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There has been a remarkable rise in studies of creative or cultural labour in recent years. Much of this research has emerged from cultural studies. Cultural studies writers have drawn attention to political questions of subjectivity that tend to be neglected in Marxian and other approaches to labour. In doing so, they have drawn, directly and indirectly, on post-structuralist concepts and assumptions. The author discusses these critical cultural studies approaches briefly in the first section of this article. The author’s claim is that, in spite of their important contributions, such studies lack clear conceptions of what might constitute good work, including good work in the cultural industries (which is how “creative labour” is defined here). This failure to offer an adequate normative grounding limits critique. To help fill this lacuna, the author then outlines research that emphasises concepts of autonomy and self-realisation as components of good work, followed by a post-structuralist critique of this research. This critique is questioned in order to suggest some of the limits of post-structuralist perspectives on work more generally. These debates in the sociology of work and organisations do not directly concern creative or cultural work, but they throw important light on it. In particular, they illustrate some of the problems of rejecting normativity in relation to labour. The final part of the article begins by claiming that debates about creative labour need to be considered as part of broader debates about the distribution of good or meaningful work across modern societies. Briefly referring to political philosophy’s treatment of work, the author suggests some ways in which attention to such issues might advance studies of creative labour.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communications (Leeds) > Institute of Communication Studies (Leeds)
Depositing User: Symplectic Publications
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2011 10:40
Last Modified: 18 May 2015 01:04
Published Version: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t71...
Status: Published
Publisher: Routledge
Identification Number: 10.1080/14797581003791461
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/42743

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