Chapter III on Media Work

After a relatively slow time, just put the finishing touches on the second installment, and updated/reworked the first chapter of my new book on (liquid) media work.

The first chapter suggests a context for studying and understanding the changing nature of media work, focusing on Bauman's notion of liquid life, Sennett's critique of today's flexible capitalism, and Beck's analysis of "the brave new world of work" - all set against the changing ways in which we use (mesh) media to work, live, and play at the same time.

The second chapter picked up these themes as tools to describe the workstyles (the integration of work and life through "a way of working and a way of being at work") of professionals in the media, defining the media as part of a broad notion of creative industries. The term was introduced by the Creative Industries Task Force (CITF) of the British Department of Culture, Media and Sport in 1998, defining creative industies as "those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property. This includes advertising, architecture, the art and antiques market, crafts, design, designer fashion, film and video, interactive leisure software, music, the performing arts, publishing, software and computer games, television and radio."

To this concept I linked Jenkins' notion of an emerging convergence culture, stipulating how the professional identity of mediaworkers has not only 'liquified', but how the creative process in the media has become an ongoing exchange between commerce, creativity, content and connectivity - to be resolved individually as a result of the risk-redistribution practices of contemporary management and organization of work.

The third chapter, which I am starting to write today (...) will focus on the notion of 'organization' as an individual-level variable in media work, suggesting that the various 'meta' traditions in analyzing cultural production - the production of culture perspective (Peterson), the multilevel analysis of mass media decision-making practices (Shoemaker & Reese), and the concept of media logic (Altheide & Snow, Dahlgren), all are still based on an extended metaphor of organization informed by a labor context of fulltime contracts, lifelong commitments, and job security - all of which have become things of the past for the contemporary and near-future media worker, who has become solely responsible for her individual survival in a precarious creative industry. This chapter will use this point of entry to discuss the infrastructure, trends and developments affecting individual practitioners in (and outside of) media companies in the domains of journalism, advertising, public relations, radio/tv/film production, and game development.

Wish me luck :-)