Week 8: Micropolitics & Collobration’s effect on Creativity and Production in the Media

Organisation in our modern regulated 21st Century world is seen as a good thing, a positive step toward success – kind of like a socio-economic-political colonization that while suppressing our individuality results in a greater good because apparently collaboration is what achieves results.

Thomas Jellis who writes about organisation in media and society argues that:

“Micropolitics, or the creation of techniques for collaboration, involve experimentation and an openness to be experimental. Micropolitics then, offers a point of departure for a new kind of politics.”[1]

So what does this mean? Well if we are to accept Jellis’ notion that micropolitics, which facilitates collaboration, involve experimentation and being open to the processes that allow it. Thus, if we are to participate in work and achieve results through collaboration, which is conducted via elements of organisation, then we must participate in micropolitics. However, this is not a revolutionary proposal as increasingly at schools, constantly at universities and daily in the workplace people are participating in teams in order to achieve results; that have there own ‘mini’ or micropolitics. In Susan Cain’s article she highlights a problem with this method of organized production:

“SOLITUDE is out of fashion. Our companies, our schools and our culture are in thrall to an idea I call the New Groupthink, which holds that creativity and achievement come from an oddly gregarious place. Most of us now work in teams, in offices without walls, for managers who prize people skills above all. Lone geniuses are out. Collaboration is in. But there’s a problem with this view. Research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption. And the most spectacularly creative people in many fields are often introverted…They’re extroverted enough to exchange and advance ideas, but see themselves as independent and individualistic. They’re not joiners by nature.”[2]

 But what about the media you ask? Well despite the existence of section editors and sub-editors in print media, whether they be magazines or newspapers, the editor ultimately makes the final decision as to the appearance of a cover or what content makes the final edition; it doesn’t go down to a vote in the editorial room or a ballot amongst contributors and editors. Similarly, in looking at the rise of blogs, particularly technology and fashion, there is little room for collaboration or micropolitics to be engaged with because these are a medium that rely on subjective personal ratings and opinions; that created by a team of individuals would blinker transversal relations. Therefore I am lead to the following conclusion:

Despite the belief in teamwork and collaboration that extends from our human history of politics, military feats and sporting success, organisation stifles creativity, spontaneity and the inevitable consequence/product from happening. Yet is essential in applying the necessary scrutinty to our works and ideas.

[1] Jellis, Thomas (2009) ‘Disorientation and micropolitics: a response’, spacesof[aesthetic]experimentation, <http://www.spacesofexperimentation.net/montreal/disorientation-and-micropolitics-a-response/>

[2] Cain, Susan (2012) ‘The Rise of the New Groupthink’, The New York Times, January 13, <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/opinion/sunday/the-rise-of-the-new-groupthink.html> (and antidote to all the above chumminess!)

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