Guest editors: Sarah Atkinson (Kings College London), Olof Hedling (Lund University), Mette Hjort (Hong Kong Baptist University) and Pietari Kaapa (University of Warwick).
Production studies has emerged as a vibrant field in contemporary media studies. The work of John Caldwell, Michael Curtin, Toby Miller and Mette Hjort has contributed to developing conceptual and theoretical approaches to the field, working simultaneously on both global and local levels of policy and production management. This work paves the way for a media studies that addresses the internal machinations of an industry often exhibiting egalitarian and liberal values on a textual level while the reality of working conditions tends to diverge considerably from these optimistic projections. While there have been studies of above-, across- and below-the-line labour in the Nordic media industries, these tend to be focused on communicating with highly specialized interest groups (journalists, regulators, film producers, social media marketers, etc.).
A much more convergent approach to the labour of professionals in the Nordic media industries is clearly required as boundaries between roles and levels of professional specialization are increasingly blurring. Journal of Scandinavian Cinema has prioritized this emerging field for an upcoming special issue focused on the Nordic creative/media industries. The Nordic countries, especially, pose highly complex challenges for production studies as they continue to be predicated on significant levels of public funding and strict but egalitarian labour regulations. The roles of private capital, competition with imported products, the challenges of digital platforms, as well as an inherently limited scope of the domestic markets of all five countries, translate into a complex media environment where production labour and the constitution of professional roles is constantly revised, or indeed, precarious, as Curtin and Sanson (2015) would argue – this, despite the fact that these countries are often promoted as exhibiting some of the more stable and sustainable societal infrastructures globally. This, in turn, provides the issue with a unique angle on production studies in that it highlights the cultural constitution of Nordic production management, labour conditions, cultural policy and, even, the ability to evaluate how these dynamics are eventually reflected in screen content.
The issue encourages submissions on the following themes and also welcomes work outside/combining these areas:
- The role of film institutes
- The centrality of public broadcasting infrastructure in Nordic media
- Welfare politics (egalitarian opportunities and educational incentives)
- Gender politics and labour management (Bechdel test and Sweden;
- rejection of quotas and Denmark)
- ‘Me Too’ and institutional change
- The role of regional film funds
- Film consultants as stakeholders and tastemakers
- The comparative lack of tax incentives in the Nordic countries
- The role of producers in a publically aided production environment
- Film schools and professionalization of media labour
- Digital platforms and DIY attitudes
- Crowdfunding and other prosumer tactics
- Vimeo and ‘unprofessional’ media
- Labour laws and unionization
- Specific technical roles (ie. score composer, line manager, caterer,
- VFX artist, etc.)
- Diversity (the consolidation of minority cultures professionals – the Sami etc.)
Timeline for contributions:
- Proposals of 500 words maximum – 31 March 2019
- Full article submission (8000 words maximum) – 30 October 2019
All contributions will undergo double-blind peer review with publication planned for July 2020.
Please email the editors to discuss potential contributions: