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Subordination and Legitimation of Self-Publishing: Shifting the Basis for Evaluation of Cultural Goods
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology. (Cultural Matters Group; Uppsala Laboratory of Economic Sociology)
2019 (English)In: Cultural Sociology, ISSN 1749-9755, E-ISSN 1749-9763Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

A do-it-yourself culture and amateur production are significant features of creative industries. Self-publishing is an eloquent expression of these features. Self-publishers invest in and make decisions to publish their creative goods without the involvement of an established and external production company or publishing house. In creative industries, claims are made about the inferior quality of self-published works, creating a stigma for self-publishing. This article investigates the ways in which aspiring writers who are considering self-publishing, handle the tension between their aspiration to publish a book and the possible stigma of self-publishing. The study draws on an analysis of interviews with 59 writers who are considering self-publishing as an option or who have self-published a book. The aspiring writers are aware of the subordinate status of such publications and while some avoid self-publishing, others seek ways to establish and legitimise the quality of their work to avoid the stigma. Legitimisation is produced through the perception of a transitioning author role and by shifting the basis of evaluation of publishability to the consumer side in creative industries, to non-professional judgement, and to the experience of being published. The outcome of the decision to self-publish, and the underpinning culture for making such assessments, has consequences for how books and other cultural goods are currently produced and the type of cultural goods that reach consumers. The assessment of self-publishing as an option among writers exposes tensions and transformations in the evaluation of cultural goods in contemporary creative industries.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
Artistic commodity market, artistic labour market, creative industries, cultural production and consumption, do-it-yourself culture, evaluation, fiction writing, quality assessment, self-publishing, stigma management
National Category
Sociology Languages and Literature
Research subject
Sociology; Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-390568DOI: 10.1177/1749975519859698OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-390568DiVA, id: diva2:1342038
Projects
European Research Council (263699-CEV); Swedish Research Council (2018-06708)
Funder
EU, European Research Council, 263699-CEVSwedish Research Council, 2018-06708Available from: 2019-08-12 Created: 2019-08-12 Last updated: 2019-08-14Bibliographically approved

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Fürst, Henrik

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