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Publication - Dr Harry Pitts

    Creative Labour, Metabolic Rift and the Crisis of Social Reproduction


    Pitts, FH, 2019, ‘Creative Labour, Metabolic Rift and the Crisis of Social Reproduction’. in: Mark Banks, Kate Oakley (eds) Cultural Industries and the Environmental Crisis: New Approaches for Policy. Palgrave Macmillan


    This chapter investigates creative labour – specifically but not exclusively the work that takes place in creative industries like graphic design, advertising and branding – in its connection with two appearances of crisis in the contemporary age. On the one hand, a contemporary crisis of social reproduction- a breakdown in the relationship between work, the wage and the capacity to consume the goods and services sufficient to subsist. On the other, the appearance of this ‘global organic crisis’ simultaneously as a crisis in the human metabolism with nature, the kind of ecological cataclysm that Marx conceptualises as a ‘metabolic rift’ . This relates, the chapter suggests, to the tension between production and consumption in a society based in the separation of human subjects from nature and the independent collective or individual means to secure the means of living. This implies certain interventions and contradictions at the level of the workplace, the market and the state that this chapter explores with reference to the creative industries and the pivotal position they assume in the production, consumption and circulation of goods and services in capitalist society. The chapter ends by considering the policy and practical actions taken by actors at state and autonomous levels to ensure the continuity and, crucially, sustainability, of creative labour against a backdrop of constrained spending, economic uncertainty and sectoral competition.

    Full details in the University publications repository