Seminar Reading

Seminar Reading

U75183 BRANDED COMMUNICATION session 04
Seminar guide: Ross (2008)
This reading guide is intended to help you prepare for the seminar discussion on the set reading for the week: Ross, A. (2008). The New Geography
of Work. Power to the Precarious? Theory, Culture & Society, 25(7–8), 31–49. doi:10.1177/0263276408097795. Make sure you follow it carefully,
and bring a completed hard copy to the week 4 session.
Comprehension questions
These questions are intended to help you identify the key arguments, concepts and definitions presented in the reading.
1. Ross describes several reasons for the “emergence and international spread of creative industries policy”. (pp.
32–3) Summarise them in your own words. What are the arguments used to promote a “creative economy”?
2. What features of the workplace did the “quality of life” campaigns of the 1970s protest against? What changes
did managers introduce in response? (pp. 35–6)
3. What are the precarious conditions that resulted from these changes? What is the “sacrificial cost” of “being
liberated from the fetters of company rules”? (pp. 36–7)
4. Why does Ross say it would be a mistake to “hark back to the diet of security” that characterised the old forms
of work? (pp. 37–8) Why is work in the creative industries still believed to be linked with a high quality of life
despite its precariousness?
5. What are the “dogmas” and “myths” about creative work that Ross considers harmful, and why? (pp. 39)
6. What is the moral power in the idea of the “global sweatshop”? (pp. 43–4) What alliances does it make
possible? How do these new alliances change the balance of power in economic relations?
U75183 BRANDED COMMUNICATION session 04
Discussion questions
These questions are intended to be the starting points for the seminar discussion.
1. Ross suggests that market regulation would improve the organisation of creative work (p. 39–40). Do you
agree? Why? Find analogies with other professions to support your argument.
2. What affinities can you find between the situation of the precarious creative worker with that of its low-wage
equivalent? (pp. 36, 41, passim). What differences? Given these affinities and differences, do you think it
would be possible to build the “political coalition of interest against class polarization” that Ross is thinking of?
3. Do you plan to work in the creative industries after graduation? If so, how do the issues of precariousness
highlighted by Ross affect your own career outlook and prospects? How do you imagine managing the
pressures they put workers under? If you plan to take a different career path, how do the conditions compare
to those of creative industry workers? Has that made a difference in your choices?

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