The Hobbit law: Precarity and market citizenship in cultural production

Bridget Conor


This paper analyses the 2010-11 employment dispute surrounding the filming of The Hobbit in Aotearoa New Zealand, in which issues of precarity and market citizenship were illuminated in the context of transnational film production and labour relations. The case is examined in relation to theories of cultural work, legal studies and feminist political economy and in particular, draws on Fudge’s (2005) concepts of industrial and market citizenship and “citizenship at work”. This dispute refracts and distills some of the links between precarity and market citizenship that cut across regional, national and supra-national boundaries. I use the case to argue for a renewed attention to forms of transnational labour organisation in studies of precarious cultural work.


Precarious work; cultural labour; unions; market citizenship; The Hobbit.

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Asia Pacific Journal of Arts and Cultural Management; ISSN 1449-1184
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