Creative Class or Administrative Class? On Advertising and the ‘Underground’
Below is the abstract of an article from the journal, ephemera. The author, Adam Arvidsson, is an associate professor of Media Studies at the University of Copenhagen. Arvidsson offers a critique of Richard Florida’s theory of the creative class.
This article offers an alternative to Richard Florida’s theory of the creative class. Departing form a study of contemporary practices within the Copenhagen advertising industry, I argue that the salaried advertising professionals that fit Florida’s definition of the creative class are not the primary producers of creativity. Rather they owe their class position to their ability to poach and appropriate creativity produced elsewhere, in networks of (mostly) unsalaried immaterial production that unfold in the urban environment. In my study, the creative content of advertising was mostly produced by this ‘creative proletariat’, while salaried advertising professionals mostly functioned as a sort of administrative class of the creative economy. Their task was to connect these forms of (relatively) autonomous creative production to the value-circuits of the capitalist economy. Thus, my contribution here is to propose a
different model of the interaction between the creative industries and the urban environment, namely one which emphasises the contribution of the unpaid ‘mass intellectuality’ of the urban arts, design, music and fashion scenes.
Read “The Rise of the Creative Class,” by Richard Florida >>