Genres and Inequality in the Creative Industries

Ana Alacovska*, Dave O’Brien

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Genres organize and facilitate cultural, creative and media production and consumption but are rarely central categories in extant research on creative industries. With this editorial article, we aim to reassert, reassess and revisit the salience of genres for understanding inequalities in the cultural and creative industries. We argue that genres, as classificatory devices, structure and order a gendered and racialized division of labour and occupational practice. Genres sanction what is and what is not aesthetically and ethically appropriate to do and think within specific textual categories and, hence also, within genre-specific production cultures. Genres draw boundaries, shaping and normalizing the gendered and racialized professional values and norms that underpin unequal patterns of access, distinction and career advancement within creative occupations. Cultural producers, in turn, are compelled to forge professional genre identities at the same time as constantly having to negotiate their gender and racial fitness to work and prosper in specific categories of cultural production. The contributions to this special issue elucidate, through a plethora of methodological and theoretical approaches, the links between genres and persisting inequalities across the book, screen and music industries.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)639-657
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Published online: 28 Apr 2021.


  • Creative industries
  • Creative work
  • Cultural labour
  • Cultural production
  • Discrimination
  • Gender
  • Genre
  • Race
  • Social inequality

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