International Journal of Cultural Studies: Co-Creative Labor :: Call for Papers :: Guest Editors: Mark Deuze (Indiana University, US & Leiden University, Netherlands) and John Banks (Queensland University of Technology, Australia).
Scholarship on the production side of new or converging media industries is scarce, but growing as the prominence of cultural production in a worldwide ‘experience economy’ increases, next to global concerns about the changing nature of work and labour in the media and creative industries specifically, and creative labor in general. Media professions as varied as public relations, marketing communications, advertising, digital game development, fashion, movie and television production have only rarely been studied at the level of work and labor relations. Post-disciplinary research and debates are now emerging about the nature, characteristics and practices of work and labor relations in the context of networked and global media industries.
Consumers increasingly participate in media production as co-creators of content and experiences. Transformations in the relations among media producers and consumers, as well as between professionals and amateurs may indicate a profound shift in which our frameworks and categories of analysis (such as the traditional labor theory of value) that worked well in the context of an industrial media economy are less helpful than before. Does recent work grounded in neo- Marxian theories of immaterial labor, affective labor, free labor, and precarious labor for example help us to analyze and unpack the changing conditions and definitions of work? What are the implications of a potentially radical unsettling of the assumed division of labour between professional, expert media producers and amateurs, volunteers, or citizen-consumer collectives?
These transformations may be understood as part of a shift from a closed expert system towards more collective innovation networks, across which expertise becomes distributed. How are these labor relations between professionals and amateurs negotiated? Are emerging consumer co-creation relations a threat to the livelihoods, professional identity, and working conditions of professional creative workers? Can this phenomenon be explained as the exploitative extraction of surplus value from the work of media consumers, or is something else potentially more profound and challenging playing out here? Indeed, are these emerging phenomena best understood as a form of labor?
For this special issue we hope to bring together research from a variety of disciplines and perspectives that ambitiously aims to come to grips with the conditions and opportunities of consumer co- creative practices. Co-creative media production practice is perhaps a disruptive agent of change that sits uncomfortably with our current understandings and theories of work and labor. We thus invite papers that describe, explain, interrogate, contextualize and thus further our understanding of the changing nature of media work in the context of co-creative media production practice.
Call for Papers
This special issue on Co-Creative Labor strives to bring together scholars from a wide variety of disciplines, addressing general or particular concerns about the conditions and changing nature of (new) media work and co-creative labor in different areas of the creative industries. The issue calls for papers that focus on rich empirical and/or theoretical work in or across three key domains of research on co-creative labor and cultural production:
New Media, Cultural Production, and Work: A first domain of research would focus on historical contexts and critical discussions of the role of media work in contemporary society. Key concepts used in the field-new media, digital culture, work, culture and creative industries, media professions-should be highlighted and clearly articulated with co-creative practices old and new.
Media Professions: In a second domain we are looking for investigations of key media professions journalism, game development, television and motion picture production, advertising, public relations and marketing communications, popular music, fashion in terms of the changing nature of work in these professions, focusing on the convergence of the roles of professionals and amateurs and the implications for professional and/or organizational identity, and the management of creativity in a context of the signaled shift towards co-creative labor.
Convergence Culture and Free Labor: A third area of research would focuses more explicitly on what industry observers coin as user-generated content, consumer co- creation or citizen media, and by the academy as commons-based peer production (Benkler), free labor (Terranova) and convergence culture (Jenkins).
We are specifically looking for submissions of original research including, but not limited to:
- Case studies of media companies adopting co-creative labor practices;
- Case studies of specific co-creative communities and their relationships with media producers;
- Content analyses of co-creative labor in the production of culture;
- Mapping of ethical, political, economical and cultural changes and challenges of co-creative labor;
- Quantitative and/or qualitative empirical work on the production, content, and/or consumption of co-created media messages;
- Research focusing on co-creative labor in the context of specific media industries;
- International comparative work on co-creative labor in media production.
Of course, this call is not exclusive, and we very much look forward to working with any authors on paper proposals or extended abstracts on related issues. We particularly want to encourage graduate students to submit work in progress.
Timetable: The special issue will appear as 12(2) of 2009. The deadline for all full paper submissions is: 30 August 2008. All submissions will be anonymously reviewed by at least two referees. Deadline for revised manuscripts is 7 November 2008. Final editorial decisions will be made by late November 2008. Submitted manuscripts should not exceed 7,500 words (including main text, abstract and keywords, plus references and endnotes).
Contact: Please submit papers, extended abstracts, or expressions of interest to Mark Deuze (mdeuze at indiana.edu).