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Cultures of production

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Roy Forrester

on 4 May 2018

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Transcript of Cultures of production

The cultures of production in Broadcast Media
Lecture outline
Culture is ordinary
Some important discourses of creative production: Revisiting work/play, art-for-art's sake, and considering "authorship"
Tradition, genre, management
A white middle-class industry
Exploring deep industrial practices: Artifacts and rituals in the film/TV industry
Routines and culture
Routines and creative management
Routines as part of learning a craft
Routines and genres
Deep industrial practices
Fully embedded deep texts
Culture in the Metaphors
Metaphors in the TV industry
The creative process as
The creative process as a
The creative process as a
military operation
Television as "bad art" - space trying to be filled
Creativity and 'gentle controls'
Creative labour resists alienation
"an act of navigation, a tentative balancing act, an attempt [...] to find that 'point' up to which creative individuals are willing to be controlled" (Hesmondhalgh and Baker, 2011)
Gentle controls - long-term relations built on trust (Hesmondhalgh and Baker, 2011)
Creative labour involves working within a tradition or established form (Smith and McKinlay, 2009)
Conventions of the craft
: Take a few minutes to think and describe the hidden culture of your craft!
Revisiting some powerful discourses in the creative industries
Actors participating in the production of culture in Broadcast media
A field composed of different actors occupying different positions
Craft labourers/ technicians
Creative managers (e.g. producers, commissioners)
Companies/ Advertisers
Scripts/ Texts of the industry
Culture is ordinary: to grow up anywhere is to see the shape of the culture and its modes of change (Williams, 1958)
We can find out things about our culture just by looking at the relationships we have with our peers, our rituals, the objects we use and how we use them.
The production process and its discourses:
routines of production, historically defined technical skills, professional ideologies, institutional knowledge
(Hall, 2001)
Institutional structures of broadcasting:
practices and networks of production, organised relations, infrastructures
(Hall, 2001)
Dr Eleftherios Zenerian
Culture and everyday life routines
- Artifacts and rituals that function to facilitate interaction among members of a community
- Demotapes, compilation reels, iconography, manuals, trade and craft narratives and anecdotes, union and guild workshops, newsletters...
Semi-embedded deep texts

- Forms of symbolic communication among media professionals - inter-group relations
- Electronic press kits, advertiser upfronts, internship programs, "how to make it in the industry" panels...
Publicly disclosed deep texts
(Caldwell, 2009)
A white middle-class industry
Race, gender, class bias
Parts of the sector noted for being white and middle class
Old boys club - Oxbridge/Public school culture, and recruitment
Advantages associated with possession of economic capital
- equipment
- internships
- general culture of after-work socialising
Racist stereotyping: class inscribed on black skin
Economic and cultural disadvantages faced by BME
(Caldwell, 2008)
- making-of documentaries, DVD extras, bloopers...
We have already seen some discourses that circulate in the creative industries
Work is play? Seeking pleasure at work? Resisting alienation?
Art-for-art's sake? Taking pride in one's work?
Networking, socialising and drinking culture
The 'auteur' myth
In fact: negotiated and collective authorship
Idea theft and ownership
- Interpersonal discussions between writers, directors
and producers
- Art as stealing
- Widespread creative culture based on feigned mutual trust accompanied by suspicion
- Writing by committee - narrative development inside the company in a systematic way
Another discourse: authorship
(Caldwell, 2008)
How else do we explore culture? Or, where do we look for more hidden discourses?
Caldwell (2009): examination of data from 4 registers
1. Textual analysis of trade and worker artifacts
2. Interviews with workers
3. Ethnographic field observation
4. Economic/Industrial analysis (political economy)
Caldwel, J. T. (2009) 'Cultures of production: studying industry’s deep texts, reflexive rituals, and managed self-disclosures', in Holt, J. and Perren, A. (eds.) Media industries: History, theory, and methods, pp.199-212.
Caldwel, J. T. (2008) Production culture: Industrial reflexivity and critical practice in film and television. Duke University Press. (Chapter 5: Industrial auteur theory)
Hall, S. (2001) 'Encoding/decoding' in Media and cultural studies: Keyworks, 166-176.
Hesmondhalgh, D., and Baker, S. (2010) Creative labour: Media work in three cultural industries (Chapter: Introduction)
Holgate, J., and Mckay, S. (2007) Institutional barriers to recruitment and employment in the audio visual industries. London: Working Lives Research Institute.
Smith, C. and McKinlay, A. (2009a) ‘Creative industries and labour process analysis’, in Smith, C. and McKinlay, A. (eds.) Creative labour: Working in the creative industries. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 3-28.
Smith, C. and McKinlay, A. (2009b) ‘Creative labour: Content, contract and control’, in Smith, C. and McKinlay, A. (eds.) Creative labour: Working in the creative industries. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 29-50.
Williams, R. ( [1958]2011) 'Culture is ordinary', in Cultural theory: An anthology, 53-59.
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