IT professionals – a pervasive lack of control?

IT professionals – a pervasive lack of control?

In an extract from a new book that looks at Marx’s theory of alienation and Information and Communication Technologies, author Mike Healy outlines an agenda for future research on the key occupation of IT professionals and why it would need to consider workers’ alienation, not narrow job satisfaction. Marx and the Digital Machines: Alienation, Technology, Capitalism was published on 16th October, available open access.

Issues such as the application of project methodologies, the control the professional (and indeed the profession as a whole) has over the industry, the rapid commodification of skills such as programming, software maintenance and testing, and business processes, could all benefit from using Marx’s theory of alienation. Research that takes as its focus the role of the ICT professional in promoting the ethical use of ICT could benefit from a shift of perspective that sees the professional as one in command to a view of the professional as someone who is powerless and who cannot determine what they make, nor for whom or how it gets made. Research could also investigate what coping and resistance strategies they employ to deal with their alienated condition. Further research using theories of alienation and PAR [Participatory Action Research] would provide deeper insights into the problems ICT professionals face such as, for example, the contradiction discussed … between what they feel about their occupations and what they would do if given the opportunity to quit their jobs. Research on ICT professionals vigorously embracing Marx’s theory of alienation would enable it to move beyond the straitjacket of, and the inadequate categories associated with, job satisfaction thereby offering a greater explanation for, rather than a description of, the conditions in which ICT professionals work.
(From Chapter 8: Critique and Conclusion p. 126)

Bad Culture, Sick Music: Fairness and Wellbeing in Cultural Work –14 October free online event

Bad Culture, Sick Music: Fairness and Wellbeing in Cultural Work –14 October free online event

Discussing two new books …

Can Music Make You Sick? Measuring the Price of Musical Ambition
Culture is Bad for You: Inequality in the Cultural and Creative Industries

Why does understanding cultural work matter so much?
What does Covid-19 mean for musicians and cultural workers?
What do you think is next for the creative recorded and live arts industries? What themes unite both books?

Sally Anne Gross, George Musgrave, Orian Brook and Mark Taylor discuss their books and issues behind them.

DJ Paulette chairs the panel discussion.

Register at Eventbrite.

Longer distance cycling – ATS special issue call for abstracts

Longer distance cycling – ATS special issue call for abstracts

ACTIVE TRAVEL STUDIES: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Special issue – Longer distance cycling: roles, requirements and impacts

Guest editors

Professor John Parkin (University of the West of England, UK)
Dr Anders Fjendbo Jensen (Technical University of Denmark)

The bicycle is increasingly seen by many cities as a solution that provides efficient and effective urban mobility, and at the same time reduces the negative environmental consequences of motorized transport. Research on cyclists’ behaviour often focuses on everyday cycle trips of shorter lengths. By contrast, this call focuses on longer length trips.

While shorter distances are more common, there are indications of a potential for modal shift to bicycle for longer trips if they are facilitated by good quality cycle infrastructure separated from other modes. Longer distance cycleways are beginning to be built between settlements in some places, and provide continuous, attractive and comfortable routes where progress can be rapid and uninterrupted. Such longer distance routes can benefit everyday cycling, and can attract travellers who would have otherwise used a car.

The development and increasing use of e-bikes is also a significant potential contributor to more longer distance cycling. The increasing availability of other types of cycle, for example non-conventional cycles including recumbents, may be a factor in being able to cycle longer distances.

While the combination of longer distance good quality infrastructure and e-bikes could act as an encouragement for some, the combination of the two may not be attractive to others. Overall the special issue is interested in the potential contribution of longer distance cycling and its implications, good and bad. On the positive side, there may be gains in accessibility and inclusion; on the negative, longer distance cycling may deter shorter (slower) cycling trips and/or stand in tension with the concept of the 15-minute city.

This special issue will cover the following areas:

  • Funding and public policy, and other policy relating to the support of longer distance cycling, for example, employers’ policies. 
  • The design and construction of infrastructure, and the value of technology, such as e-bike development and use.
  • Implementation strategies, such as communications and social marketing, used to promote everyday longer distance cycling. 
  • The extent to which longer distance everyday cycling is inclusive and attractive. 
  • The extent to which longer distance cycling for business can serve last-mile and other delivery/servicing needs 
  • Cycle logistics business models for longer distance deliveries, and the experiences of those working in the cycle logistics industry.
  • The way in which longer distance cycleways support trip making behaviour for everyday and regular trip making.
  • Equity and equality issues relating to those attracted to longer distance cycling and those who are not attracted to it, and the way this is affected when specific cycling infrastructure is provided.
  • The choices available to people who cycle longer distance, including the value of the option of multi-modality as part of longer distance cycle trips.
  • Case studies and intervention studies. 
  • Analysis of the impacts of longer distance cycling both socio-economically and on the environment (e.g. carbon reduction, air quality, noise and severance). 
  • Emerging practices of longer distance cycling, for different purposes and in different contexts. 
  • We are interested in papers from all parts of the world. The call is not primarily intended to cover longer distance cycling in relation to leisure or tourism but we are open to submissions that address longer distance cycling for business (e.g. couriers or freight).

Timescales and practicalities:

Please submit abstracts (400-600 words) at https://activetravelstudies.org/about/submissions. You will first need to register at https://activetravelstudies.org/register 
Deadline: 16th November 2020.

Authors will hear from the editors encouraging a full submission or providing feedback by 14th December 2020.

Full submissions to be made by 31st March 2021. These will be peer reviewed. ATS submission categories include: research articles, commentaries, reviews, debates and interviews.

Provisional publication date of issue: from June 2021.

ATS is a peer-reviewed open access journal and no fees will be charged to contributors to this special issue.

‘The best guide to what being a musician, and what “the music industry” actually are that I can remember reading…’

‘The best guide to what being a musician, and what “the music industry” actually are that I can remember reading…’

CAN MUSIC MAKE YOU SICK? Measuring the Price of Music Ambition
Sally Anne Gross and George Musgrave

OUT NOW
“The best guide to what being a musician, and what “the music industry” actually are that I can remember reading… it manages to capture and quantify so much about how we value emotion, creativity, labour, relationships, time, other people, [and] ourselves, in the information economy” Joe Muggs  (DJ, Promoter, Journalist [Guardian, Telegraph, FACT, Mixmag, The Wire])

“Musicians often pay a high price for sharing their art with us. Underneath the glow of success can often lie loneliness and exhaustion, not to mention the basic struggles of paying the rent or buying food. Sally Anne Gross and George Musgrave raise important questions – and we need to listen to what the musicians have to tell us about their working conditions and their mental health.” Emma Warren (Music Journalist and Author)

“Singing is crying for grown-ups. To create great songs or play them with meaning its creators reach far into emotion and fragility seeking the communion we demand of music. The world loves music for bridging those lines. However, music’s toll on musicians can leave deep scars. In this important book, Sally Anne Gross and George Musgrave investigate the relationship between the wellbeing music brings to society and the wellbeing of those who create. It’s a much needed reality check, deglamourising the romantic image of the tortured artist.” Crispin Hunt (Multi-Platinum Songwriter/Record Producer, Chair of the Ivors Academy)

“A critical and timely book which is sure to kick start further conversations around musicians, mental health and the music industry” Adam Ficek (Psychotherapist [Music and Mind]/BabyShambles)

“This book should be mandatory reading for every label, booking agent, manager and tour manager in the business of music and touring so we can all better understand what’s really involved in living the life of a professional musician and the role we all have in making that life as liveable as possible” Grant Hutchison (Frightened Rabbit)

It is often assumed that creative people are prone to psychological instability, and that this explains apparent associations between cultural production and mental health problems. In their detailed study of recording and performing artists in the British music industry, Sally Anne Gross and George Musgrave turn this view on its head.  By listening to how musicians understand and experience their working lives, this book proposes that whilst making music is therapeutic, making a career from music can be traumatic. The authors show how careers based on an all-consuming passion have become more insecure and devalued. Artistic merit and intimate, often painful, self-disclosures are the subject of unremitting scrutiny and data metrics. Personal relationships and social support networks are increasingly bound up with calculative transactions.  Drawing on original empirical research and a wide-ranging survey of scholarship from across the social sciences, their findings should be provocative for future research on mental health, wellbeing and working conditions in the music industries and across the creative economy. Going beyond self-help strategies, they challenge the industry to make transformative structural change. Until then, the book provides an invaluable guide for anyone currently making their career in music, as well as those tasked with training and educating the next generation.

Contents
1. Introduction: Special Objects, Special Subjects
2. Sanity, Madness and Music
3. The Status of Work
4. The Status of Value
5. The Status of Relationships
6. Conclusions: What Do You Believe In?
Appendixes| Notes | Bibliography

AUTHORS
Sally Anne Gross is a Principal Lecturer at the University of Westminster and the course leader of the MA Music Business Management. She is also a music manager and music business affairs consultant, and has worked in the music industry for over three decades.

George Musgrave is an academic based at both the University of Westminster and Goldsmiths, University of London. He is also a musician who has been signed to Sony/EMI/ATV.

Open Access
PDF, ePub and kindle versions available free from https://www.uwestminsterpress.co.uk/site/books/m/10.16997/book43/

Subjects
Popular Music  |  Media Industries  | Cultural Studies  | Communication Studies

Is the Price of Musical Ambition Too High?

Is the Price of Musical Ambition Too High?

It is often assumed that creative people are prone to psychological instability, and that this explains apparent associations between cultural production and mental health problems. Sally Anne Gross and George Musgrave in their book CAN MUSIC MAKE YOU SICK? turn this view on its head. By listening to how musicians understand and experience their working lives, they show that whilst making music is therapeutic, making a career from music can be traumatic.

Listen to Sally Anne Gross discuss the authors’ findings on Robert Elms BBC Radio London, 11.00 Saturday 26th. Jason Solomons stands in.