Reframing the Relations of Media, Knowledge, and Innovation in Society
Edited By Hubert Knoblauch, Mark D. Jacobs and René Tuma
Creative Labor and the Production of Culture: Toward a Sociology of Commonality
Situating Creative Work
As many of us know from direct experience, the world of work has undergone a quite profound change in the Western world. Starting in the 1980s, the de-localization of industrial labor to low-wage countries went hand in hand with a growing flexibilization of the work force (Beck, 2000). This not only creates a growing “precariat’ of temporarily employed, lacking job and income security (Standing, 2011). Within several sectors, particularly those related to the creative economy and the culture industries, the flexibilization trend also markedly transformed the nature of work itself. For researchers within and outside the university, software programmers, advertising professionals, or those employed within the spheres of furniture design or clothing fashion, the primary unit of work is as a rule today no longer a well-defined specialized task but the temporary project. Whereas the first was repeated over time in organizationally stabilized conditions typified by a high degree of labor differentiation, project work is mostly carried out within the context of shifting collaborative networks and mobilizes variable personal competences or individual qualities. French sociologists Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello (2005) therefore speak of the recent breakthrough of “the projective city”’ as an autonomous regime of legitimation and justification. They link its institutionalization with “the new spirit of capitalism” that has succeeded the traditional industrial order and its stress on efficiency or, in Max Weber’s famous characterization, the dominance of goal rationality. Overall, two dimensions stand out within...