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Art and culture are supposed to bring society together. Culture is bad for you challenges the received wisdom that culture is good for us. It does this by demonstrating who makes who and consumes culture are marked by significant inequalities and social divisions.

The book combines the first large-scale study of social mobility into cultural and creative jobs, hundreds of interviews with creative workers, and a detailed analysis of secondary datasets. The book shows how unpaid work is endemic to the cultural occupations, excluding those without money and contacts. It explores unequal access to cultural education and demonstrates the importance of culture in childhood. The book looks at gender inequalities, analysing key moments when women leave cultural occupations, while men go on to senior roles. Culture is bad for you also theorises the mechanisms underpinning the long-term and long-standing class crisis in cultural occupations. In doing so it highlights the experiences of working-class origin women of colour as central to how we understand inequality.

Addressing the intersections between social mobility, ethnicity, and gender, the book argues that the creative sector needs to change. At the moment cultural occupations strengthen social inequalities, rather than supporting social justice. It is only then that everyone in society will be able to say that culture is good for you.

Orian Brook, Dave O’Brien, and Mark Taylor

publishes figures outlining the economic performance of creative industries. The most recent figures, 1 for 2017, suggested creative industries as a whole were contributing over £100 billion to the economy, with remarkable growth since 2010. The cultural sector, as a distinctive part of the creative economy, contributed almost £30 billion. While there are complexities underpinning the relationship between individual firms’ profitability, workers’ wages, and overall contribution to the economy, it is fair to say there is money to be made by making culture. Yet this does

in Culture is bad for you
Walking from the mundane to the marvellous
Morag Rose

the shape of the city and to experiment with creative, and playful, walking methods. More recently, for my PhD research, I walked with women to discuss their thoughts, feelings and experiences of Manchester. This chapter shares fieldwork notes and practical tips to develop walking methods at a variety of scales: lone wandering as way to understand everyday spaces; one-to-one walking interviews, because walking and talking together facilitates rich conversations about the environment; walking with groups of people who want

in Mundane Methods
Abstract only
Managing multiple embodiments in the life drawing class
Rebecca Collins

Introduction There has been growing interest in the role of sketching, drawing and other forms of artistic and/or creative practice as a research method within (and beyond) the social sciences (see also Heath and Chapman, this collection). As a geographer (and a lapsed art historian) my interest lies in how artistic, craft-based and creative practices can be used to investigate, express and (re)construct spatial experience and understanding (see, among others, Bain, 2004 ; Banfield, 2016 ; Hawkins, 2011, 2012 ). Such practices are often seen as

in Mundane Methods
Orian Brook, Dave O’Brien, and Mark Taylor

first three months I felt completely alienated … Because some people did look down on me. Some people would talk to me like I was stupid in the beginning. And I’ve never been stupid. I just didn’t have the articulation or the language, the tools to say what I was thinking. When we interviewed Meg she was working in a major arts institution as a creative producer, where she primarily focused on new work. In her mid-twenties, a working-class origin mixed-race woman from a single-parent family, she told us about how she had struggled in her first job in theatre

in Culture is bad for you
Marcel Stoetzle

In his famous double-essay The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904-05) Max Weber translated a generally felt discontent with modern capitalist civilization into a theme for the (then still emergent) discipline of sociology. Like many of his contemporaries, Weber both affirmed and critiqued modern liberal, capitalist society, celebrating capitalism’s dynamism and creative energy (propelling Western civilization to its well-deserved world-dominating position) while deploring its tendency to become an ‘iron casing’ through which it fetters and destroys itself. Weber felt promoting what he perceived as the original, Puritan capitalist spirit against corrupt ‘utilitarian’, hedonistic capitalism might help slowing down, or even reversing, the decay of Western civilization.

in Beginning classical social theory
Orian Brook, Dave O’Brien, and Mark Taylor

dominance of those from middle-class origins. In Lisa’s story there is a sense that the past was a more equal time, when people from working-class origins had more opportunities. There was access to education, access to work and professional progress, and access to culture. The narratives exemplified by Lisa suggested there was a strength and critical mass in working-class origin creative workers that is not present today. This idea is very common in public discourse, for example in comments by several high-profile working-class origin actors, such as Julie Walters

in Culture is bad for you
Orian Brook, Dave O’Brien, and Mark Taylor

a clear tension between her work and her future family life. In this chapter we are going to highlight a key moment when women seem to be dropping out of cultural occupations. We saw in Chapter 3 that across creative occupations there are gender imbalances. Film and television have a striking absence of women; museums and galleries have fewer men. There are numerous reasons for these differences. In this chapter we’re going to look at the impact of having children. It is important to stress that the academic literature not only focused on motherhood, but has

in Culture is bad for you
Abstract only
Orian Brook, Dave O’Brien, and Mark Taylor

creative occupations, has traditionally been the least diverse. 2 These roles have been the most likely to be occupied by those fitting the dominant ‘somatic norm’ 3 of White, middle-class origin, masculinity that we discussed in Chapter 8 . Even though Howard was committed to the good culture can do, he was frustrated by the problems within cultural occupations. Yet he was in a position to, potentially, challenge and change some of the inequalities he recognised (and which we’ve discussed in this book). Indeed, part of Howard’s career was making space for new

in Culture is bad for you
Orian Brook, Dave O’Brien, and Mark Taylor

element in the explanation of the overall inequalities we have demonstrated in cultural production and consumption in Chapters 3 and 4 . To explore this, we’re going to look at a subset of our interviewees, those who are socially mobile from working-class origins into cultural and creative jobs. We use three ideas to frame our analysis. First, we’ll extend Chapter 7 ’s discussion of social mobility. Rather than explaining the concept again, we’re going to think about various criticisms of the idea. In doing so, we introduce a second theoretical insight, the idea

in Culture is bad for you