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Creative Labour, Before and After ‘Going Freelance’: Contextual Factors and Coalition-Building Practices

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe New Normal of Working Lives
Subtitle of host publicationCritical Studies in Contemporary Work and Employment
EditorsStephanie Taylor, Susan Luckman
Publisher or commissioning bodyPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9783319660387
ISBN (Print)9783319660370
DateAccepted/In press - Aug 2017
DatePublished (current) - 7 Dec 2017

Publication series

NameDynamics of Virtual Work
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan


This chapter uses empirical findings to oppose the resonant discourses of liberation presented in postoperaist accounts of ‘immaterial labour’ and their modern proponents, which envision a world of work in which a creative multitude self-actualises unencumbered by the capitalistic demands of industrial factory labour. The ascription of these powers to work in the creative industries misunderstands their continuing status with frameworks of capitalist valorisation, domination and exploitation and the battle waged by workers to escape it. This chapter suggests that whatever potential for creativity creative labour possesses exists only in denial, and that capitalist development will not deliver fulfilled work alone. Struggle must ensue to recapture creative activity from its imbrication in capitalist social relations. Focusing on the movement of creatives from formal employment to freelancing, the case study presented in the chapter explores the possibilities of, and barriers to, this struggle. It looks at the wider economic and employment context behind the movement of creatives from formal employment to freelancing, and then examines the struggle they wage thereafter to secure conditions within the commercial contractual relationship of freelance work to be creative in the way they initially desired upon taking it up. It closes by exploring the nascent forms of coalition-building in evidence among freelancers in the case study of creative labour in the UK and the Netherlands.

    Structured keywords

  • Perspectives on Work
  • Cultural Work
  • MGMT Work Organisation and Public Policy
  • MGMT theme Work Futures

    Research areas

  • Creative Industries, Creative labour, freelance, freelance work, organization, Organizational Studies, labour movements, Work, Sociology of Work, critical management studies, Self-employment



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    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Palgrave Macmillan at . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

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    Embargo ends: 7/12/20

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