From Passion to Compassion: A Caring Inquiry into Creative Work as Socially Engaged Art

Ana Alacovska*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article considers the analytical potential of a concept of care that foregrounds human interdependencies, relational ties and the needs of others as the basis for action in analysing work, such as creative work, which is neither directly nor obviously associated with care provision. Work in the creative industries has recently become a central concern in sociology. Much of this scholarship reproduces or extends the idea of creative work as a paradigm of individualized work in contemporary societies that is characterized by high levels of worker autonomy, passion, self-expression and self-enterprise. This article challenges such theorizations by calling attention to the role of caring in creative work, understood both as an ontological phenomenon and as a relational practice of sustaining and repairing the world. Drawing on a qualitative study of socially engaged art in South-East Europe, I argue that creative work manifests itself as a labour of care and compassion.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)727-744
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Published online: 4 March 2020


  • Care
  • Caring
  • Compassion
  • Creative industries
  • Creative labour
  • Creative work
  • Cultural work
  • Individualization
  • Individualized work
  • Passion
  • Social practice art
  • Socially engaged art

Cite this