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Edited by Chris Bilton and Stephen Cummings
Chapter 8: Good work? Rethinking cultural entrepreneurship
To adapt and horribly mangle Marxís great lines, cultural workers are entrepreneurial, but not as they please and not under self-selected circumstances (Marx 1852/2005). One of several paradoxes of a group of workers, alternately celebrated (Handy 1995, Florida 2002) and the subject of concern (McRobbie 2002, Ross 2003) is that, like Marxís revolutionaries, they are sometimes creating something that did not exist before, but in an environment of increasing precariousness and constraint. The entrepreneurialism they display is often of the forced, or at least adaptive, kind. They set up businesses because that is the easiest way to carry out their practice. They get premises because they need to work away from the kitchen table. They take on projects to pay the rent, and other projects on the back of that, because they now have new expertise. They socialise relentlessly to the point where it resembles work more than play. They often articulate social and political concerns about the kind of work they do; but they carry it out while exploiting themselves and others, often with the barest of acknowledgement. This chapter looks at the phenomenon of the self-employed cultural worker, sometimes described as a ëcultural entrepreneurí or even ëculturepreneursí (Lange 2006).
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