Love, labour, lost: creative class mobility, stories of loss, negative affects

Yiu Fai Chow*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Creative class workers are highly mobile, yet the struggles, disruptions and inequalities that emerge in their new, trans-local, experiential geographies are usually erased in the upbeat, Florida-inflected narrative on creative work and creative class mobility. This article aims to break open discussions of creative class mobility with the insertion of affect. It argues for the inclusion of personal, affective experiences to complicate the fluidity, the ease, the resolve that are usually assumed in the imaginary of being mobile. Furthermore, the article builds on the increasing volume of scholarship on affective labour – conceptualized as the affective dimensions of labour – but via a different route. I argue that any examination of affective labour may expand from the affect in labour, to how labour affects; from affective labour to labour affects. This inquiry brings to mobility studies the resonances between moving (geographically) and being moved (affectively), supplementing cultural studies’ critique of creative work with precarity of a different category, that of the affective. The empirical section presents the affective accounts of three re-located creative workers. They show us that mobility is never as frictionless as it sounds, and doing what people love may well come at the cost of losing those whom they love. I tease out three themes for further connections with affect: ethos and values, gender, and technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1050-1069
Number of pages20
JournalCultural Studies
Issue number6
Early online date8 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • affect
  • China
  • creative class
  • loss
  • Mobility
  • precarity


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