Is it still good work if you’re not getting paid?
in Culture is bad for you
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Money matters. Chapter 6 analyses the role of economic resources, economic capital, in access to cultural jobs. It focuses on experiences of unpaid work. Unpaid work seems to be endemic to cultural occupations, both as a route to getting in and getting on.

Part of the reason cultural workers are willing to put up with low and no pay for their labour are the joys and pleasures that come from cultural work. At the same time, the chapter shows how what seems to be a shared experience of cultural work is important to keeping low and no pay a type of norm for cultural occupations.

In fact, the shared experience is stratified by age and by class. Class and age reveal very different experiences of unpaid work. Older creative workers were much more likely to have the creative freedom described by their younger, middle-class origin, colleagues.

Middle-class origin younger people experienced positive aspects of unpaid work. For those with the right sorts of resources associated with middle-class origins, it gave them creative freedom, as well as routes into high-profile work. For those without such resources it was often just exploitation.


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