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Engendering Media Work: Institutionalizing The Norms Of Entrepreneurial Subjectivity

Mojca Pajnik, Majda Hrženjak

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The article analyses how contemporary processes of media production involving temporary work contracts for journalists, long working hours, the demand for unconditional commitment to work and so on push women into unequal position compared to male employees. Attention is paid to ‘engendered’ work in ‘greedy’ media organizations characterized by precarization of work and the related devaluation of journalism as a profession. Rather than detecting the extent of power and position of women in the media, we adopt the materialist analysis of mechanisms that mask gender inequality and contribute to ‘capitalizing’ on gender for the imperative of media productivity. The study was conducted in Slovenia, in Eastern European, post-socialist context, and comprised 33 individual interviews with media managers and workers at three television stations (public TV SLO, and commercial POP TV and Planet TV). In the analysis, we focus on how journalists, by internalizing the disciplining norms of ‘entrepreneurial subjectivity’, become the motivating force behind precarization of work. Although these processes are often perceived as gender neutral even among female journalists, we argue that they are masculinized and have different effects on men and women, among other things due to the individualization of women’s reproductive roles.