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Publication - Dr Harry Pitts

    Creative Labour, Before and After ‘Going Freelance’

    Contextual Factors and Coalition-Building Practices


    Pitts, FH, 2017, ‘Creative Labour, Before and After ‘Going Freelance’: Contextual Factors and Coalition-Building Practices’. in: Stephanie Taylor, Susan Luckman (eds) The New Normal of Working Lives: Critical Studies in Contemporary Work and Employment. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 87-107


    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.

    Full details in the University publications repository