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The promised land? Why social inequalities are systemic in the creative industries

Doris Ruth Eikhof (Stirling Institute for Socio‐Management, Stirling Management School, University of Stirling, Stirling, UK)
Chris Warhurst (Work and Organisational Studies, Sydney University Business School, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 9 August 2013

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a more comprehensive understanding of why social inequalities and discrimination remain in the creative industries.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper synthesizes existing academic and industry research and data, with a particular focus on the creative media industries.

Findings

The paper reveals that existing understanding of the lack of diversity in the creative industries’ workforce is conceptually limited. Better understanding is enabled through an approach centred on the creative industries’ model of production. This approach explains why disadvantage and discrimination are systemic, not transitory.

Practical implications

The findings suggest that current policy assumptions about the creative industries are misguided and need to be reconsidered. The findings also indicate how future research of the creative industries ought to be framed.

Originality/value

The paper provides a novel synthesis of existing research and data to explain how the creative industries’ model of production translates into particular features of work and employment, which then translate into social inequalities that entrench discrimination based on sex, race and class.

Keywords

Citation

Ruth Eikhof, D. and Warhurst, C. (2013), "The promised land? Why social inequalities are systemic in the creative industries", Employee Relations, Vol. 35 No. 5, pp. 495-508. https://doi.org/10.1108/ER-08-2012-0061

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited