‘Being in the Zone’ of Cultural Work

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    Date/Time
    Date(s) - 2 May 2013
    3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

    Location
    Room T2.26, Monash Caulfield Campus

    Category(ies) No Categories


    Dr Mark Banks

    The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK

    Mark Banks

    Mark Banks

    In the kinds of cultural, media and creative industries work considered in this paper, workers are often required to inhabit or even ‘become’ one’s job, to immerse themselves it without question. In its more affirmative versions, there is a recurrent idea that captures that special moment of perfect creative synthesis between worker and the work – the moment of ‘being in the zone’. Being in the zone (hereafter BITZ) describes the epitomic, optimal fusion of the productive mind and the labouring body. But what is this creative ‘zone’? In this paper I want to examine BITZ from a sociological perspective. The aim is to challenge affirmative (often psychologistic) readings of BITZ that seek to de-politicise the conditions of its emergence and gloss over its less progressive social effects. But the paper also asks – does BITZ simply represent another form of oppression, or does it retain some potential for informing and shaping understandings of better kinds of cultural work?

    Mark Banks is Reader in the Department of Sociology at The Open University and a member of the ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC). He is the author of The Politics of Cultural Work (2007) and co-editor (with Rosalind Gill and Stephanie Taylor) of Theorizing Cultural Work (2013). He has written extensively on work in the cultural and creative industries, cultural policy and cultural value – most recently in relation to craft workers, artists and jazz musicians.

    Presented by the Research Unit in Media Studies (RUMS).