Interrogating Creative Theory and Creative Work: Inside the Games Studio

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The expansion of creative and cultural industries has provided a rich source for theoretical claims and commentary. Much of this reproduces and extends the idea that autonomy is the defining feature of both enterprises and workers. Drawing on evidence from research into Australian development studios in the global digital games industry, the article interrogates claims concerning autonomy and related issues of insecurity and intensity, skill and specialisation, work–play boundaries, identity and attachments. In seeking to reconnect changes in creative labour to the wider production environment and political economy, an argument is advanced that autonomy is deeply contextual and contested as a dimension of the processes of capturing value for firms and workers.

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