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‘Brand work’: constructing assemblages in gendered creative labour

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Publication details

JournalHuman Relations
DateAccepted/In press - 22 May 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 17 Aug 2018
DatePublished (current) - May 2019
Issue number5
Number of pages22
Pages (from-to)910-931
Early online date17/08/18
Original languageEnglish


Recent work has highlighted how brands play an important role within organisational practice, for example, they can act as tools of normative control on employees (Cushen, 2009, Russell, 2011). To extend this discussion, we ask: How do gendered media brands come into being in an organisation by connecting ideas, objects and people? This paper challenges the assumption that brands simply reflect management norms by positioning the brand as an ‘assemblage’ (Lury, 2009) of multiple connections and linkages, simultaneously shaping and being shaped by those that partake in its production. Employees engage in ‘brand work’, i.e., the negotiation of the assemblages of the brand in situated and gendered practices. Brand work is explored here in the gendered creative labour of producing girls’ magazines. Two studies of pre-teen and teenage girls’ magazines in the UK and a Nordic country were analysed in relation to how multiple brand fragments were situated in gendered practices and power relations. Brand work offers an alternative, fragmented perspective to normative forms of control, introducing a simultaneous territorialisation and deterritorialisation process of stabilisation and contestation of the assemblage.

    Research areas

  • brand, girlhood, brand work, assemblage, control, creative labour

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