Industry or Field? The Value of the Field Construct to Study Digital Creative Industries

  • Santi FurnariEmail author


This chapter identifies the assumptions underlying the two constructs of industry and field, comparing their usefulness to study the digital transformation of creative industries. Two assumptions of the industry construct make it less useful to understand the blurring of creative industries’ boundaries and roles induced by digital technologies: (1) industry boundaries are defined on the basis of a central product/service; (2) organizations’ positions in an industry are defined on the basis of organizations’ attributes (competencies/resources, cost functions, etc.) vis-à-vis each other. Differently, the field construct draws on a relational and activity-centered definition of boundaries and organizational positions, orienting the researcher’s attention to a broader variety of actors and to the multiple relations (symbolic and material) connecting them. These assumptions underlying the field construct are more useful to study the fluid dynamics shaping the creative industries in the digital era, enabling the researcher to better ‘see’ the processes and mechanisms underneath such dynamics.



I thank the editors Mukti Khaire, Jesper Strandgaard Pedersen and Barbara Slavich, as well as Simone Ferriani, Gino Cattani and Denise Falchetti, for valuable comments on a previous version of this chapter, I also thank Hans Frankort and Gianvito Lanzolla for their help and comments during the development of the chapter.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cass Business SchoolCity, University of LondonLondonUK

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