Underperformative economies: Discrimination and gendered ideas of workplace culture in San Francisco’s digital media sector

Underperformative economies: Discrimination and gendered ideas of workplace culture in San... Drawing on recent research in feminist and cultural economic geography, as well as queer and affect theory, in this paper I examine the construction of ideas of workplace culture in the context of digital media work in San Francisco. I argue that in this context, workplace culture is produced as an idea that functions to describe certain individuals and behaviors as in or out of alignment with the firm’s established and gendered norms. I frame these observations around a discussion of affect and emotion in the workplace through a critical examination of interviews with workers in this setting. Drawing on Ngai’s framing of confidence as the tone of capitalism, and Berlant’s notion of underperformativity, I emphasize the gendered and affective dimensions of accumulation in the digital media sector, and how ideas of culture are discursively and materially constructed rather than natural or existing prior to their circumstances of production. In a practical sense, reproductions of a culture–economy dualism implicate gendered and other forms of discrimination in the workplace in terms of hiring practices, uneven distributions of (often emotional and unremunerated) work, and how difference in the workplace is valued or undermined. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Environment and Planning A SAGE

Underperformative economies: Discrimination and gendered ideas of workplace culture in San Francisco’s digital media sector

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Publisher
SAGE Publications
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2018
ISSN
0308-518X
eISSN
1472-3409
D.O.I.
10.1177/0308518X18754883
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Drawing on recent research in feminist and cultural economic geography, as well as queer and affect theory, in this paper I examine the construction of ideas of workplace culture in the context of digital media work in San Francisco. I argue that in this context, workplace culture is produced as an idea that functions to describe certain individuals and behaviors as in or out of alignment with the firm’s established and gendered norms. I frame these observations around a discussion of affect and emotion in the workplace through a critical examination of interviews with workers in this setting. Drawing on Ngai’s framing of confidence as the tone of capitalism, and Berlant’s notion of underperformativity, I emphasize the gendered and affective dimensions of accumulation in the digital media sector, and how ideas of culture are discursively and materially constructed rather than natural or existing prior to their circumstances of production. In a practical sense, reproductions of a culture–economy dualism implicate gendered and other forms of discrimination in the workplace in terms of hiring practices, uneven distributions of (often emotional and unremunerated) work, and how difference in the workplace is valued or undermined.

Journal

Environment and Planning ASAGE

Published: Jun 1, 2018

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