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‘We live in a capitalist world, we need to survive!’: Feminist cultural work, platform capitalism, and pandemic precarity

Curran-Troop, H. ORCID: 0000-0002-9471-6346 (2023). ‘We live in a capitalist world, we need to survive!’: Feminist cultural work, platform capitalism, and pandemic precarity. European Journal of Cultural Studies, doi: 10.1177/13675494231193821


This paper analyses the working practices of several feminist creative and cultural enterprises in London (which I term ‘feminist CCIs’). In particular, it shows how pandemic precarity has driven feminist CCIs towards more entrepreneurial, self-promotional, and self-branding practices in order to sustain their work. Drawing on both digital ethnographic material and interviews with 12 workers in feminist CCIs conducted online between 2020 and 2022, the article provides insights into the landscape and contemporary realities of arts and cultural funding within these fields. It considers how decades of austerity measures and cuts have forced some feminist CCIs to operate independently outside of the UK public sector funding models. Survival tactics include adopting corporate funding models, subscription and membership schemes, platformisation and digitalisation. Focusing on funding, money and subjectivity, it unpacks the contradictions these imperatives bring to feminist politics: tensions about which some feminist CCI workers themselves are aware of and critical of. In the process, this paper considers how activism, feminism, entrepreneurialism, and precarity are fused together and negotiated in this form of ‘freelance feminism’.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author(s) 2023. Reuse is restricted to non-commercial and no derivative uses.
Publisher Keywords: Activism, branded partnerships, creative and cultural industries (CCIs), entrepreneurialism, Feminism, pandemic, platformisation, precarity, 1504 Commercial Services, 2001 Communication and Media Studies, 2002 Cultural Studies, Communication & Media Studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs
School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
SWORD Depositor:
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