The New Geography of Work: Power to the Precarious?

Andrew Ross

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This article describes the emergence of a prized labor market in sectors that policymakers have designated as the creative industries. Statistics generated about these sectors have been legion. By contrast, there has been precious little attention to the quality of work life with which such livelihoods are associated. The article considers several features of creative work that have a qualitative dimension and recommends a policy-minded approach to each. The second half of the article examines the case for a cross-class coalition of the sort proposed by the anti-precarity movement. Though they occupy opposite ends of the labor market hierarchy, workers in retail and low-end services and the ‘creative class’ temping in high-end knowledge sectors share certain elements of precarious, or nonstandard employment. While these different segments have existential conditions in common, is there any reason to imagine that they interpret or experience them in similar ways? And, even if they do, is there enough commonality to forge a political coalition of interest against the class polarization associated with economic liberalization?.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)31-49
    Number of pages19
    JournalTheory, Culture & Society
    Issue number8
    StatePublished - Dec 2008


    • class
    • creativity
    • industry
    • work

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • General Social Sciences


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