European inventory of
societal values of culture

Brook, O’Brien & Taylor - Inequality talk

Brook, O., O’Brien, D., & Taylor, M. (2019). Inequality talk: How discourses by senior men reinforce exclusions from creative occupations. European Journal of Cultural Studies, vol. N/A, 1–16.

Cultural Studies has drawn attention to the way that cultural and creative industries are marked by significant inequalities. This article explores how these inequalities are maintained, through fieldwork with senior men making decisions in cultural and creative industries. Drawing on 32 interviews with senior men across a range of cultural and creative industry occupations, conducted as part of a larger (N = 237) project, the analysis shows that misrecognition and outright rejection of inequalities are now not the norm. Rather, ‘inequality talk’ and the recognition of structural barriers for marginalised groups is a dominant discourse. However, individual careers are still explained by gentlemanly tropes and the idea of luck, rather than by reference to structural inequalities. The distance between the discourse of career luck and ‘inequality talk’ helps to explain the persistence of exclusions from the workforce for those who are not white, middle class origin, men. This has important implications for inequalities in cultural production and consumption, and in turn for wider social inequality.

Brook, O’Brien & Taylor “Inequality talk: How discourses by senior men reinforce exclusions from creative occupations”