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Creative Workers in Hong Kong (2016 – 2020)

“Design and creativity are abstract [. . . ] So they’re often undervalued. One time my little cousin said to me, ‘I can take photos [with my Smartphone] similar to yours, and you’re even charging people for that’.”

(Tracy, Junior Art Director, international advertising agency 1)

“We can watch TV anytime, anywhere now – A smartphone is a television.”

(Ellen, Senior writer of local TV company 3)

This research challenges the growing theoretical Global North–South divide and refines an ‘excentric’ theorisation of creative labour in the context of the increasingly monopolising but competitive capitalism in Asia. While it argues that job insecurity is not just a universal, objective condition, but varying, subjective experiences of anxiety and dissatisfaction for creative workers, we adopt a pluralist epistemological approach and identify the nuanced intersections among key global, local, and sectoral trends – increased use of digital technology, an Indigenous and outdated work ethic, and a devaluation of creativity both in industry and society – that co-configure Hong Kong creative workers’ divergent perceptions of and responses to job insecurities.

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