The Open UniversitySkip to content

Moral economy and cultural work

Banks, Mark (2006). Moral economy and cultural work. Sociology, 40(3) pp. 455–472.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


While the ‘culturalization’ of the economy has led some to welcome the ‘turn to life’ (Heelas, 2002) and anticipate the remoralization of economic activity, others argue the cultural turn is conducive only to consolidating neo-liberalism's characteristic demoralization of economic relations.The cultural industries, as a leading sector of the culturalized economy, are seen to be particularly culpable in this respect, offering the illusion of freedom, but actually eroding the ethical basis of work through tendencies for individuation and exploitation. Building on the recent renewal of interest in ‘moral economy’, this article argues that claims for the demoralization of cultural industries may be premature. Empirical evidence is presented from interviews with cultural entrepreneurs in Manchester, UK, to reveal how social and political values are biographically important and made evident in the routine context of work. The conclusion offers that individualization may provide some opportunity to re-establish (non-economic) moral and ethical values at work

Item Type: Journal Item
ISSN: 1469-8684
Keywords: cultural industries; individualization; moral economy; remoralization; workplace identities
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Social Sciences and Global Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
Item ID: 9386
Depositing User: Mark Banks
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2007
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2019 08:27
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU