Unspeakable Inequalities: Post Feminism, Entrepreneurial Subjectivity, and the Repudiation of Sexism among Cultural Workers

Gill, R. (2014). Unspeakable Inequalities: Post Feminism, Entrepreneurial Subjectivity, and the Repudiation of Sexism among Cultural Workers. Social Politics, 21(4), pp. 509-528. doi: 10.1093/sp/jxu016

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Abstract

Work in the cultural and creative fields is marked by stark and growing inequalities relating to gender, class, and race/ethnicity. Yet, the same industries are also characterised by an ethos that celebrates openness, egalitarianism, and meritocracy. This paper explores this paradox, focusing in particular on gender inequalities. It argues that there is a need to move beyond the standard conventional explanations for women's under-representation within the creative workforce, which point to female childbearing and childcare as central. Whilst not disputing the significance of motherhood to women's career trajectories, the paper suggests that the repeated focus on maternity is problematic and may close down other areas of potential investigation and critique.

The paper suggests that three alternative foci would repay attention in understanding inequalities in the CCI. First, the new, mobile, subtle, and revitalised forms of sexism in circulation urgently require further examination. Secondly, the power of the dominant post feminist sensibility which, in suggesting that “all the battles have been won,” renders inequality increasingly difficult to voice or speak about, demands critique. Thirdly, the new forms of labouring subjectivity required to survive in the field of cultural work may themselves be contributing to the inequalities in the field, by favouring an entrepreneurial individualistic mode that disavows structural power relations. These three aspects of life in the field of cultural work merit further attention and suggest that gender inequality has a variety of different causes, not all located in women's childbearing abilities. Moreover, the paper argues that the very myth of egalitarianism at work in the CCI may itself be a key mechanism through which inequality is reproduced.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Social Politics following peer review. The version of record Gill, R. (2014). Unspeakable Inequalities: Post Feminism, Entrepreneurial Subjectivity, and the Repudiation of Sexism among Cultural Workers. Social Politics, 21(4), pp. 509-528 is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/sp/jxu016
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Divisions: School of Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/14458

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