[artinfo] Moral Economies of Creative Labour - Call for Papers

Geert Lovink geert at xs4all.nl
Thu Mar 17 16:34:53 CET 2011

Moral Economies of Creative Labour - A two day conference

Organisers: MIRC/Institute of Communications 
Studies, Leeds & Sociology/CRESC, The Open 
Date: Thursday 7th-Friday 8th July 2011

Venue: Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds

Call for Papers
In analyses of the cultural, media and creative 
industries, considerable attention has been paid 
to the negative, unethical or amoral aspects of 
the labour process  - the exploitation of 
'precarious' workers, the self-exploitation that 
results from internalizing mechanisms of control, 
and the damaging aspects of inequality and 
individuation at work. While it remains vital to 
theorise these aspects, a number of scholars have 
sought to offer contrasting accounts that point 
to the diverse array of moral and ethical 
practices evident in cultural/creative labour, 
with workers appearing to routinely invest their 
work with social and non-instrumental values, 
ethics and politics - however 'commercialised', 
'networked' and 'immaterial' their workplaces may 
appear to be. Such scholars draw their energies 
from accounts of the cultural or moral aspects of 
economic life (Sayer), the limits of market 
thinking in the cultural sphere (O'Neill, Keat), 
autonomist and post-Marxist approaches 
(Lazzarato, Hardt and Negri) and varied attempts 
to move beyond the ethical impasse of 
post-structuralist critique. Yet whether it is 
possible to identify any substantively 'moral', 
'ethical' or critical features of this sector 
remains contentious. This conference therefore 
asks: what are the moral or ethical dimensions of 
creative work? What are the political outcomes of 
efforts to infuse creative labour with ethical 
intent or content? How might an ethical politics 
of creative labour be theorized and organized? 
Or, given the propensity of capital to absorb or 
exploit normative critique, should the prospect 
of 'ethical' cultural work be regarded as 
illusory and damaging?

Keynote speakers:

	* Susan Christopherson (author of 
Remaking Regional Economies (with Jennifer Clark) 
and numerous publications on creative economies);
	* Russell Keat (author of the classic 
text Cultural Goods and the Limits of the Market);
	* Andrew Sayer (author of, amongst other 
books, the forthcoming Why Things Matter to 
People: Social Science, Values and Ethical Life 
and co-editor of Culture and Economy after the 
Cultural Turn).

Other speakers include: Mark Banks, David 
Hesmondhalgh, Helen Kennedy, David Lee and Jason 
Papers are invited on the following (or similar) 
topics: creativity, cultural work and ethics; 
media work and ethics; ethics and aesthetics; 
creative/cultural policy, politics and 
organizing; ethics and exploitation; 'good' and 
'bad' work; ethics of caring; emotions and 
affective creative labour; practices and virtues; 
the commodification of ethics; the limits of 
workplace ethics.

	* Please email abstracts (150 words max 
for a 20 minute paper) to Liz Pollard at 
ics-conferences at leeds.ac.uk by Thursday 31st 
	* Places are limited and successful 
acceptance will be confirmed in mid-April.
	* To register for the conference please also contact Liz Pollard.
	* Conference fee: £75 (waged) £30 
(Postgraduates/unwaged), includes some meals and 
	* See http://ics.leeds.ac.uk/ and 
www.cresc.ac.uk for programme updates and further 

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