De-Westernizing Creative Labour Studies: The Informality of Creative Work from an Ex-Centric Perspective

Ana Alacovska, Rosalind Gill

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Creative labour studies focus almost exclusively on Euro-American metropolitan ‘creative hubs’ and hence the creative worker they theorize is typically white, middle-class, urban and overwhelmingly male. This article outlines the contours of a de-Westernizing project in creative labour studies while introducing a special journal issue that examines the lived dynamics of creative work outside the West. The article advocates an ‘ex-centric perspective’ on creative work. An ex-centric perspective does not merely aim at multiplying non-West empirical case studies. Rather, it aims at destabilizing, decentring and provincializing the taken-for-grantedness of some entrenched notions in creative labour studies such as informality and precarity. An ex-centric perspective, we contend, offers a potential challenge to many of the claims about creative work that have taken on the status of general truths and universal principles in spite of them being generated from limited empirical evidence gleaned from research sites situated almost exclusively in the creative hubs of Euro-America.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)195–212
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Creative cities
  • Creative industries
  • Creative labour
  • Cultural work
  • De-westernizing
  • De-westernization
  • Informality
  • Media work
  • Precariousness
  • Precarity

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