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From Passionate Labour To Compassionate Work: Cultural Co-ops, Do What You Love And Social Change

Marisol Sandoval

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This article focuses on the relation between work and pleasure in the cultural sector. I first unpack the concept of passionate work, situating it within four possible ways of relating work and pleasure. I argue that the work ethic of do what you love, contrary to what it promises, limits the prospects of loveable work. As part of a neoliberal work culture, do what you love transfers the battleground from society onto the self. It favours self-management over politics. Drawing on findings from interview research with members of worker co-operatives in the UK cultural industries, I then go on to explore the relation between work and pleasure within cultural co-ops. I discuss how cultural co-ops might inspire and contribute to a movement for transforming the future of work by turning the desire for loveable work from a matter of individual transformation and competition into a practice of co-operation and social change.