Hollywood Cognitarians

Authored by: Toby Miller

The Routledge Companion to the Cultural Industries

Print publication date:  June  2015
Online publication date:  May  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415706209
eBook ISBN: 9781315725437
Adobe ISBN: 9781317533986


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Cultural labor is a complex term. Does “cultural” refer to the basic inputs and outcomes of an industry, or can it apply to an industry where cultural marks are epiphenomenal (Miller, 2009)? How much of the work done has to be cultural for it to characterize the overall nature of that work? Is a carpenter on a film set doing cultural labor? Is a designer in an automobile factory not doing cultural labor? Should we accept a distinction between workers “below” and “above” the mythic “line” that is drawn on a class basis by Hollywood accountants, where drivers, caterers, electricians, carpenters, secretaries, interns, and the like are placed in the lower category while writers, producers, executives, directors, actors, and managers reside in the upper? Is the cultural labor force divided along classic Taylorist lines of industrial work, distinguishing blue-collar workers who undertake tasks on the line from the white-collar workers who observe and time them (Scott, 1998a: 18)?

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