Precariousness and Adaptability in Creative Industries: The Case of Film Critics Open Access

Zaras, Dimitrios (Spring 2022)

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This dissertation is a study of the evaluation of cultural products and of how individuals who work as critics perform their work and adapt to challenges in their environment. I investigate these topics by examining film, the cultural products, and film critics, the creative workers. My analysis utilizes data on the critical recognition of films, review assignment among critics, interviews, and film review texts across three decades. I draw mainly from the literatures of the sociology of culture, the sociology of valuation and evaluation, and the sociology of work. I approach film critics’ struggles in the modern media landscape as a case study of how work in creative industries has been cast and recast by recent broad technological and structural changes. I employ various statistical techniques, from logistic regression for rare events to hierarchical linear modelling, as well as natural language processing. My findings demonstrate the ways that professional film critics have attempted to maintain their relevance by embracing new media and by changing their evaluation practices to fit the demands of audiences in an era dominated by user-generated content.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 1


2. Chapter One: Professional and Amateur Film Critics’ Convergence in Terms of Evaluation Criteria 15


3. Chapter Two: Now That Everyone Can Be a Critic, Is Aesthetic Hierarchy Dead? Film Evaluation, Critics, and Audiences 52


4. Chapter Three: Workplace Sex Segregation in Precarious Times: Evidence from the Field of US Newspaper Film Criticism, 1998-2018 100


5. Conclusion 138


6. References 142

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