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Drake, P., 2021.

Critical and cultural?

Output Type:Chapter in a book
Publication:The Routledge Companion to Media Industries
Brief Description/Editor(s):McDonald, P.
Pagination:pp. 96-106

This chapter explores what it means to study media production and producers, considers "production studies" methods, and reflects on issues and challenges. It examines the rise of production studies as a field, emerging from different disciplinary traditions. Many studies have analyzed the politics of cultural production including exploitation of labor and discrimination. However, these have rarely explored the wider range of media work across distribution and exhibition, or conducted larger studies across industry sectors or international boundaries that could offer useful points of comparison. Addressing research with industry, the chapter proposes a tentative typology of collaborative production studies research. The chapter argues that production studies can be understood as situated, relational storytelling, providing contextualized accounts of the cultures of media industries. Many challenges for the field remain: how to share methods and approaches, how to historicize studies, how to address cultural contexts and scale, how to explore media specificity, and how to address inequalities faced by workers. Concluding, the chapter argues that the significant value of production studies has been to synthesize approaches toward a deeper understanding of production through accounts of its workers and their interaction with industrial processes and rituals, building valuable thick descriptive accounts of the lived experiences of media industries and their workers.