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date: 28 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Through a review of empirical case studies, we examine the identities of professional artistic workers (i.e., a subset of professional creative workers who perceive themselves as creators of unique outputs that embody personal, artistic visions). To affirm their social identities at work, professional artistic workers appear to desire and signal exclusion from normative professional identity categories (e.g., corporate, or commercial) that they perceive as antagonistic to their social identities. Further, they appear to consistently signal such identity antagonism, over time, to maintain the authenticity of their social identities. These findings suggest that explicit and sustained identity antagonism may be essential to the maintenance of artistic workers’ social identities in professional work settings. Based on these findings, we develop a framework describing the role of antagonism in the identities of professional artistic workers. We discuss the implications of this framework for understanding and managing artistic workers in professional contexts.

Keywords: creative workers, artistic workers, professional identity, antagonism

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