Hubs vs Networks in the Creative Economy: Towards a ‘Collaborative Individualism’
This chapter reflects on the relationship between coworking spaces as a type of creative hub, and the practices of networking that are often described as typical of the creative economy. Elaborating on ethnographic research conducted by the authors in the UK and Italy, we argue that coworking spaces can be seen as heterotopic spaces (Foucault 1986) in which a certain vision of the world is produced and reproduced. This vision acts as a symbolic dimension that expands the practices of ‘network sociality’ (Wittel 2001) by adding to them an imaginary communitarian element. This is characterised by the enactment of a specific disposition that we call ‘collaborative individualism’. With this term, we want to capture the ambivalence of coworkers’ sociality and point at the compresence of an entrepreneurialised and individualised conduct with an ethics of sharing and collaborating.
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