A Framework for Cultural Labour

Shoring up the good jobs, well done

Authored by: Catherine Murray

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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The proposition that there is a moral and material diversity in cultural work quite apart from aesthetic dimensions (Banks, 2006; Ross, 2009) continues to require socio-economic alternatives to the current winner-take-all neoliberal economic formation. 2 As the rocky start to the 21st century continues, the 1980s restructuring of the welfare state across many countries has produced a dramatic U-turn into inequality, which is higher in Canada than in all but one other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country. Such income distributions – not seen since the Depression (Fortin et al., 2012; Smith, 2006; Banting and Myles, 2013; McKenna, 2013) – feature a stagnant or hollowing-out middle class and emerging ‘labour apartheid’ or class polarization (Ross, 2009). Contemporary austerity politics after billions in bank bailouts in 2008 feature pitched battles over cuts in social and cultural programs, taxes, and redistribution. While any return to the Keynesian era of big general social welfare programs is unlikely in many OECD countries, there is a revival in elite and popular opinion of policy debates over fairness and equity (Steeves, 2013; Grant, 2013; Battle and Torjman, 2012). It is timely to explore how discursive differences in framing a renewed or 3.0 3 version of the social investment state defined below may or may not advance more egalitarian and inclusive visions of cultural work and collectivist action.

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