Voluntary Precarious. Clothing Designers As Entrepreneurs in Russia and in Finland

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Hörsaal 14 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Olga GUROVA, University of Helsinki, Finland
This research is aimed at studying the careers of fashion designers as creative entrepreneurs in Russia and in Finland. Since the beginning of the 2000s the entrepreneurs had been labeled as “creative class” (Florida 2002); recently a new category - “precariat” – have become widespread (Standing 2011). This shift in view on creatives occurred in the context of rethinking of the creative work in terms of neoliberal change of the role of the state in welfare and citizens’ well-being. Thus this research is aimed at exploring how entrepreneurial self is constructed in the context of the changing state policies towards small-scale entrepreneurs in the creative field and by fashion designers themselves; and how the designers interpret and deal with the actual conditions of their work. I consider creative entrepreneurship as a form of subjectivity that is produced at the state level through documents related to creative entrepreneurs and by entrepreneurs themselves through experience (including bodily and emotional) and practices (cf. Skeggs 2004). Methodologically, this research is ethnographic study focused on designers as self-employed entrepreneurs, who either work alone or have a company of 2-3 people, namely, micro-enterprises. I study the following groups of the designers: Russian designers working in Russia and the designers of Russian and of Finnish origins operating in Finland. Methods include in-depth interviews with designers and experts in each country and secondary data analysis.