Collaborating, competing, coalescing, coworking: artists, freelancers and social entrepreneurs as the new subjects of the creative class

Gandini, A., Bandinelli, C. and Cossu, A. (2017) Collaborating, competing, coalescing, coworking: artists, freelancers and social entrepreneurs as the new subjects of the creative class. In: Collaborative production in the creative industries. University of Westminster Press, London, pp. 15-32. ISBN 9781911534280


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This chapter is concerned with offering an understanding of the main traits that characterise the
subjectivity of these social actors, and assess their emergence and significance. Building on
individual ethnographic fieldwork conducted in various contexts between 2011-2014, we offer an
ex-post reflection that draws from each author’s empirical research to provide a better
understanding of the role these subjects play in the meeting of collaboration and creativity. These,
we will argue, represent - each with its own peculiar features - an accurate illustration of the process

of reshaping of the creative economy in the shift towards collaboration and sharing – a shift one
encounters in the confluence of emergent ‘alternative’ economic perspectives in the aftermath of the
financial crisis and the rise of forms of economic valorisation that are increasingly rooted in the
social (Arvidsson and Peitersen, 2013).

Within this scenario, freelancers, social entrepreneurs and artists have intervened onto the social
fabric by operating in peculiar, but somewhat analogous ways, blending collaboration,
entrepreneurship and creative practice in an original manner. Each from their own standpoint, they
now reclaim a central role in an urban collaborative scene that they commonly consider the space
for the enactment of their creative, (self)entrepreneurial endeavours. Their subjectivity, as we are
about to observe, is similarly characterised by a political attitude towards change and an ideological
disposition to ‘newness’, that is made explicit in the attempt to combine economic with what may
be seen as forms of ‘aest-ethical’ action - and is nonetheless frustrated in the capacity to coalesce as
a collective subject within and beyond the fragmented scene they inhabit. By operating in a milieu
largely determined by a market economy, yet nonetheless experimenting with forms of commons-
based peer production, we argue that freelancers, social entrepreneurs and artists are manifestations,
in their own peculiar ways, of that process of ‘re-embeddedness’ of the economic into the social
(Pais and Provasi, 2015) that seems to characterise the current socio-economic conjuncture.

Keywords:neoliberalism entrepreneurship activism social movements freelances
Subjects:L Social studies > L150 Political Economics
L Social studies > L210 Political Theories
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Media)
ID Code:29587
Deposited On:14 Nov 2017 09:49

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