From Shared Uncertainties to Inequalities in Discontinuous Work Regimes. Professional Mobility within Actors and Independent Graphic Designers

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 16:30
Location: Hörsaal 18 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Valerie ROLLE, London School of Economic and Political Science, United Kingdom
Alongside the development of atypical employment, artists are frequently cited as a new type of creative, mobile and self-motivated worker (Menger, 2002). Yet, their situation reflects shifts in labour markets since the 1970s (Castel, 2009), such as tendencies toward entrepreneurship, over-flexibility and self-commitment in an economy structured by networks. From this point of view, my ongoing comparative study on actors and independent graphic designers documents how a project-based organisation of work in discontinuous employment contexts (intermittent work, self-employment) impacts on career path.

The literature has already stressed the key role played by State benefits (Menger, 2011), multiple job-holding (Bureau, Perrenoud, Shapiro, 2009), employment relationship loyalties (Proust 2002; Pilmis, 2007), as well as social familiarity with the art worlds (Menger 1997; Ravet, 2007; Rolle & Moeschler, 2014) in ones ability to overcome the uncertainties of creative careers. In that manner, “success” is related to an unequal set of resources, opportunities and inheritances. But the first results of my study also show that actors as well as graphic designers can successively experience upward and downward professional mobility during their career path. The broader social configuration (sex, race, class and matrimonial statuses, as well as social, cultural and economic capitals) in which they are embedded is then paramount. Indeed, it allows us to understand how the reclassifications accompanying social and occupational moves affect career path.

In a nutshell, across a thorough comparison of actors’ and graphic designers’ narratives (based on 30 in-depth interviews), I will address career inequalities by focusing on social and professional mobility on project-based markets characterized by discontinuity.