The contemporary worker as a gendered creative subject: a discursive and psychosocial approach with speaker Dr Stephanie Taylor, The Open University
Developments of the critical discursive tradition within social psychology offer both a conceptualisation of a gendered contemporary subject and an analytic approach to talk and text data, including media representations. In this paper Stephanie Taylor discusses representations which centre on a new worker as a gendered variant of two other idealised figures, the entrepreneur and the creative artist. The figure of the entrepreneur, eager to pursue opportunities and take risks, is central to the market-driven accounts of economic development associated with neoliberalism. The image of the artist following a creative vocation underlies many of the now-established understandings of careers and work practices in the contemporary cultural and creative industries (CCI).
Stephanie argues that the discursive drift between enterpreneurship and creative work valorises the new worker as a feminised, though not inevitably female, figure. This suggests that media representations invite identification with this new worker figure through a 'new mystique', promising autonomy and creative fulfilment as compensation for the precariousness and difficulty of freelancing and self-employment on the margins of contemporary economies.