Theory, Culture and Society 25 (7-8):97-118 (2008)

Sarah Baker
Victoria University of Wellington
In keeping with the focus of this special section, we concentrate initially on some of the problems of autonomist Marxist concepts such as `immaterial labour', `affective labour' and `precarity' for understanding work in the cultural industries. We then briefly review some relevant media theory and some key recent sociological research on cultural labour , which we believe may be more useful than autonomist concepts in developing empirically informed critique. The main body of the article then consists of an ethnographic account of working on one particular television programme, an account that aims to build on these theoretical debates. We analyse how the power to provide exposure or not to individuals in the talent show genre in contemporary television and disputes between commissioners and independent producers about how best to go about doing so are registered in the form of stress, anxiety and sometimes poor working relations among project teams of young television researchers . We especially focus on how additional pressures are borne by these workers because of the requirements to undertake emotional labour, involving the handling of strong emotions on the part of talent show contributors, and to maintain good working relations in short-term project work, requirements generated by the need to ensure future employment. Ultimately, then, we support the view that creative work is `precarious' — but we go beyond the generalizations involved in concepts such as immaterial labour and affective labour to show the specific ways in which precariousness is registered and negotiated in the lives of young workers in one industry
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DOI 10.1177/0263276408097798
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References found in this work BETA

The Affective Turn.Patricia T. Clough - 2008 - Theory, Culture and Society 25 (1):1-22.
Reply to Cas Wouters's Review Essay on the Managed Heart.A. Hochschild - 1989 - Theory, Culture and Society 6 (3):439-445.
Empire.Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri - 2003 - Science and Society 67 (3):361-364.

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