Contesting the “Authentic Artist Dream”: Territorialising the Precarious Creative Labour in Xiamen

Authors: Yan Li*, City University of Hong Kong
Topics: China, Migration, Cultural Geography
Keywords: Territorialisation, Creative Labour, Mobility, China
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Evergreen, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This abstract attempts to investigate the dynamic and contingent interactions between state territorialisation of creative labour in China. This proposed research seeks to discuss the urban governance under the Foucauldian approach of governmentality. The state intervention serves particular configuration of cultural zones and it demarcates a “deserving community”, which in turn shapes the tendency of the spatial mobility of labour.

The community of trade oil painter in China calls for attention under the culture-led urban strategy, whose precariousness is overshadowed by a glamourized image of cultural profession. Not only is the social group suffering from the uncertainty of self-employment but also a geographically mobile characteristic, which renders life more precarious.

This proposed research would therefore seek to draw out the precarious mobile pattern of the mobile painters and discuss how territorialisation process impacts the trans-local mobility patterns of trade oil painters under the distinct feature of neoliberal governmentality in China. The research will examine a calculative strategy on territory through non-numbers, which is the discourse of being an “authentic artist”. This proposed research seeks to explore the rationality of Xiamen government and see how this “authentic artist” is constructed to guide the conduct of trade oil painters and how painters would re-articulate the discourse of “authentic artist” and contest the displacement.

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