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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Creative workers, fuelled by the desire to be and be seen as creative, have come to epitomize some of the most intense identity struggles of any group of employees in modern times. This chapter begins by reviewing the significance of identity for creative work and by arguing for its heightened salience given its importance in both the processes and outcomes of creative work. Organizations play a role in inspiring and framing the creative identities that people construct. Echoing many broader discourses of creative work, organizations capitalize on these to delimit people’s aspired-to identities. While official discourses of autonomy and creativity offer the promise of self-making, they can also be understood as softer forms of control in organizations that aim to produce an ideal subject who is self-disciplining and invests him/herself in work. This chapter concludes by arguing that creative identities are often problematic as they can blur the lines between individual and organization, work and life, and further encourage (self-)exploitation of workers in potentially harmful ways that demand further research.

Keywords: creative identities, selves, emotion in organizations, creative industries, creative work, identity struggle

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