How should we understand creative work? In Creative Control: The Ambivalence of Work in the Culture Industries (Columbia UP, 2021), Michael Siciliano, an assistant professor of sociology at Queen's University, Canada, explores this question through a comparison of a recording studio and a digital content creation company. The book considers the meaning and practice of ‘creative’ labour, considering its ambivalences, the passions and commitments, as well as the compromises and alienations associated with this area of economy and society. It represents a crucial intervention to the literature on cultural production, as well as offering an important understanding of the impact of digital modes of distribution and production on creative industries. A rich and fascinating comparative ethnography, the book is essential reading across humanities and social sciences, as well as for anyone interested in understanding contemporary culture.
Dave O'Brien is Chancellor's Fellow, Cultural and Creative Industries, at the University of Edinburgh's College of Art.