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Title page for ETD etd-12022012-172200

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Rush, Carly Ann
Author's Email Address carly.a.rush@Vanderbilt.Edu
URN etd-12022012-172200
Title Informally qualified: justifying qualifications for employment in creative industries
Degree Master of Arts
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Steven J. Tepper Committee Chair
  • creative economy
  • work
  • culture
Date of Defense 2011-07-11
Availability unrestricted
Adherence to professional norms, values and beliefs structures is an important qualification for artists seeking employment in creative industries. However, few accounts have examined how these qualifications are signaled in the interpersonal communication between artists and contractors seeking to hire them. This paper introduces a typology of signaling strategies used by artists to display such informal qualifications in their employment contracts. Drawing on a quantitative content analysis of 30 production riders, this paper shows how artists present themselves as aligned with professional norms, values, and beliefs in order to validate their power to present and enforce demands made in their riders. Artists justify their power to make and specify demand through several rhetorical and aesthetic strategies such as the notation of minimum requirements, acceptable and unacceptable alternatives, emphasizing demands through linguistic and aesthetic changes to the document’s text, using deferential language, and including legal discourse. Correlations between the types of signaling strategies used and an artist’s career stage demonstrate how these practices govern an artist’s status in the field and are patterned by employment outcomes. The variation in specification strategies used in riders by an artist’s career stage begins to explain variation in the relatively unexplored aspect of artistic careers: informal qualifications of professional conduct and values. My analysis of the signals used to display adherence to professional norms, values, and beliefs illuminates the process of status acquisition and legitimacy that takes place in creative industry careers.
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