Advertisement

Online Selling and the Growth of Home-Based Craft Micro-enterprise: The ‘New Normal’ of Women’s Self-(under)Employment

  • Susan Luckman
  • Jane Andrew
Chapter
Part of the Dynamics of Virtual Work book series (DVW)

Abstract

Self-employment remains a financially risky undertaking and one often pursued at the expense of financial security. Discussing an Australian study of design craft micro-enterprises, this chapter argues that the growth of craft self-employment is masking considerable un- and under-employment, especially among women. The ease of establishing a professional business profile and the ability to network via social media as a marketing tool provide nascent craft entrepreneurs with a sense of real, sustainable, and significant work, justifying continuing. Their situations exemplify Berlant’s ‘cruel optimism’, whereby that which we desire ‘is actually an obstacle to [our] flourishing’ (Berlant, Cruel optimism, Duke University Press, 2011, p. 1). The social and economic costs to individuals, families, and the wider society of all this effort and risk-taking are profound and require greater attention.

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was supported under the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Project funding scheme (project number DP150100485 ‘Promoting the Making Self in the Creative Micro-Economy). We thank Belinda Powles and Kam Kaur for their invaluable input and assistance with the research project and, as always, the makers who have generously shared their stories with us.

References

  1. Anderson, C. (2006). The long tail: How endless choice is creating unlimited demand. London: Random House.Google Scholar
  2. Berlant, L. (2011). Cruel optimism. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. BOP Consulting (Commissioned by Crafts Council, Creative Scotland, Arts Council of Wales, and Craft Northern Island). (2012). Craft in an age of change. London: BOP Consulting.Google Scholar
  4. Campbell, P. (2014). Imaginary success? The contentious ascendance of creativity. European Planning Studies, 22(5), 995–1009.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Friedan, B. (1963). The Feminine Mystique. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  6. Gibson-Graham, J. K. (2006). A postcapitalist politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  7. Hesmondhalgh, D., & Baker, S. (2011). Creative labour: Media work in three cultural industries. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Jessop, B. (2004). Critical semiotic analysis and cultural political economy. Critical Discourse Studies, 1(2), 159–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Luckman, S. (2015a). Craft and the creative economy. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Luckman, S. (2015b). Micro-enterprise as work-life ‘magical solution’. In L. Adkins & M. Dever (Eds.), The post-Fordist sexual contract: Working and living in contingency (pp. 91–108). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  11. Luckman, S., & Andrew, J. (2017). Establishing the crafting self in the contemporary creative economy. In S. Luckman & N. Thomas (Eds.), Craft economies. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  12. Scholz, T. (2017). Uberworked and underpaid: How workers are disrupting the digital economy. Cambridge and Malden: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  13. Senior, J. (2015, January 6). What do we give up when we become freedom-seeking entrepreneurs? A lot, actually. New York Times Magazine. Retrieved June 30, 2017, from http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/12/what-we-give-up-when-we-become-entrepreneurs.html
  14. Taylor, S. (2015). A new mystique? Working for yourself in the neoliberal economy. In B. Conor, R. Gill, & S. Taylor (Eds.), Gender and creative labour. Sociological Review Monographs (pp. 174–187). Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  15. Taylor, S., & Littleton, K. (2012). Contemporary identities of creativity and creative work. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Luckman
    • 1
  • Jane Andrew
    • 2
  1. 1.Hawke EU Centre for Mobilities, Migrations and Cultural TransformationsUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.School of Art, Architecture, and DesignUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

Personalised recommendations