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Artists and Multiple Job Holding: Breadwinning Work as Mediating Between Bohemian and Entrepreneurial Identities and Behavior
Linköping University, Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture, Department of Culture Studies – Tema Q. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4331-4950
2016 (English)In: Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, ISSN 2245-0157, E-ISSN 2245-0157, Vol. 6, no 3, 43-58 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Artists are known to manage low income and work insecurity by holding multiple jobs. Through an analysis of interview data, this study explores the narratives of 20 visual artists in Sweden regarding breadwinning work. Positive and negative experiences of such work are analyzed in relation to the artists’ work behavior and identity as either ‘bohemian’ or ‘entrepreneurial.’ Breadwinning work may be seen by artists as either enabling autonomy from the market or hindering the construction of a professional identity, depending on these behaviors/identities. However, conditions such as low wage, temporary contracts, and low control over work hours ultimately decides artist’s experiences of breadwinning work. This article adds to the existing knowledge on artistic labour markets by highlighting the role of multiple job holding in mediating between an understanding of the bohemian art for art’s sake artist role and the entrepreneurial role of the artist.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 6, no 3, 43-58 p.
National Category
Cultural Studies Performing Arts Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-132390DOI: 10.19154/njwls.v6i3.5527OAI: diva2:1044914
Available from: 2016-11-07 Created: 2016-11-07 Last updated: 2016-11-30Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. (Un)bearable freedom: Exploring the becoming of the artist in education, work and family life
Open this publication in new window or tab >>(Un)bearable freedom: Exploring the becoming of the artist in education, work and family life
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this dissertation is to explore and understand three important social contexts for the becoming of an artistic subjectivity: education, work and family life. The empirical data consist of interview material with alumni from the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, staff of the institute, and a survey material from the Swedish National Artists Organization (KRO/KIF). Generally, the thesis employs a theory of conflicting understandings of labour as well as the importance of discourses and narratives for the formation of subjects. The contribution of the thesis is the analysis of a continuing conflict between being and working as an artist actualized in the social contexts explored. The arts education encouraged a romanticized understanding of art as unrelated to market value, which clashed against societal norms of career progression, survival and supporting a family. This conflict informed the subjective way in which the respondents related to their activities as artists, workers and relatives. The concept of freedom can be understood as mediating this conflict in the sense of forming the basis of attraction to the arts but also a burden as it relates to insecurity. The analysis found several subjective representations of the artist that indicate strong norms of individuality and self-direction, understood as the outcome of a working life fraught with personal responsibility for coping with insecurity. As such, the thesis is part of ongoing research on changes in working life towards non-standard and sometimes precarious working conditions.

Abstract [sv]

Syftet med avhandlingen är att undersöka och förstå tre betydelsefulla sociala kontexter för konstruktionen av en konstnärlig identitet: utbildning, arbete och familj. Avhandlingens material består av intervjuer med alumner från Kungl. Konsthögskolan i Stockholm, undervisande personal på skolan, samt ett enkätmaterial från Konstnärernas riksorganisation KRO/KIF. Teoretiskt utgår avhandlingen från olika forskningsperspektiv på arbete samt diskursiv och narrativ konstruktion av subjektivitet. Avhandlingen påvisar en kontinuerlig konflikt mellan att vara eller att arbeta som konstnär. Den konstnärliga utbildningen positionerar konsten enligt romantisk tradition i motsättning till marknadslogik vilket efter utbildningen skapar en konflikt för konstnären som måste förhålla sig till normer av karriär, överlevnad av arbete och försörjning av familj. Denna konflikt påverkar hur konstnärerna subjektivt förhåller sig till sin konstnärliga aktivitet, totaliteten av sitt arbete och sin roll som anhöriga. Frihetsbegreppet kan förstås relatera till denna konflikt dels genom att utgöra en attraktion till konsten, dels genom att relatera till osäkerhet. I analysen framträdde flera konstnärliga subjektspositioner vilka alla indikerar starka normer av individualism och självtillräcklighet. Dessa kan relateras till ett arbetsliv karaktäriserat av eget ansvar för att hantera osäkerhet. Avhandlingen är därför del i en pågående forskning kring ett arbetsliv i förändring mot atypiska och även mer prekära arbetsförhållanden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2016. 98 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 692
Cultural work, visual artists, subjectivity, discourse analysis, narrative analysis, Konstnärligt arbete, bildkonstnärer, subjektivitet, diskursanalys, narrativ analys
National Category
Cultural Studies Performing Arts Social Work Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-132391 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-132391 (DOI)9789176857175 (Print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-11-25, K3, Kåkenhus, Campus Norrköping, Norrköping, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2016-11-07 Created: 2016-11-07 Last updated: 2016-11-07Bibliographically approved

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