Schizoid Creators: Creative work and subjectivity in contemporary Chinese cultural economies | Supervisors: Jeroen de Kloet and Esther Peeren | Agnietenkapel
|Date||17 September 2019|
This study investigates creative labour conditions and the formation of creative subjectivities in China. It combines a political economy of cultural production in contemporary China with four empirical case studies focusing on creative workers in state-owned cultural enterprises, independent filmmakers, international creative workers and social media creators. This study engages with questions concerning governance, precarity and subjectivity in analysing labour conditions of cultural production in contemporary China. While unveiling how specific politico-economic inequalities are concealed by the production of creative aspirations, I also attempt to affirm the experiences and agency of individuals working in a wide range of Chinese cultural sectors. This cultural economy produces space for individual agency as well as precariousness, leaving open the possibility for cultural workers to become what I term ‘schizoid creators’. The vibrant network of cultural production in China both pushes and limits individuals’ aspirations to creativity and self-realisation. Expected by the state and market to ‘be creative’ in particular ways, cultural workers also find possibilities to resist this imperative, developing a schizoid subjectivity that serves the governing system but challenges it at the same time.