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Leclair Margot, Dalmasso Cédric

This paper departs from the research literature that underlines the on-going debate arising within creative companies, between creative rationales on the one hand and economic rationales on the other hand (De Fillippi et al., 2007; Hesmondhalgh, 2013; Lampel et al., 2000; Linstead, 2010). Most creative actors have to operate both within and through economic rules and boundaries to effect creative propositions. Creative industries represent an iconic field for investigating such paradoxes and tensions creative actors have to deal with (De Fillippi et al., 2007). Known as "particular for the need to appease art and business" (Jones et al., 2005), those industries are organized around the production and circulation of "non-material goods directed at a public of consumers for whom they generally serve an aesthetic or expressive, rather than clearly utilitarian function" (Hirsch, 1972: 641). The conflicts and tensions between the imperative of a relentless creation of new genres, formats and products on the one hand, and economic viability on the other hand occur within the creative economy in a most striking fashion (De Fillippi et al., 2007). In this context, scholars have noted that so-called creative individuals of those industries tend to resist or disregard economic preoccupation (Caves, 2000; Jones et al., 2016; Linstead, 2010). Yet research that explains interactions and ways of working within creative contexts as consequences of these conflicting tensions is still scarce (Austin, Hjorth & Hessel, 2017). In the paper we describe our effort to address some of the shortcomings of existing theory by taking up the following research question: How do actors involved into the creative process deal with market-based activities? We explore the unlikely conversation between profit maximization and creative forces (Austin, Hjorth & Hessel, 2017; Eikhof & Haunschild, 2007; Lampel et al, 2000), how those supposedly opposing forces play out in the daily life of creative actors. We structure our paper as follows. First, we describe how current research deals with the organization of conflict between economic and creative influences. We then present the research setting and describe the everyday doings at Maria Maliusi, the fashion house that provided the occasion for our study. We follow that with a description of our research approach, and then present our key findings. We arrive at findings that describe an asymmetry in market-based roles, with creative workers engaging with the buyer role while dis-engaging from the seller role. In this asymmetry, we highlight how economic practices are shaped by both commercial and capitalistic logics of practice, lived as resourceful in the buyer role but constraining in the seller role. We end up by suggesting the concept of anti-hero entrepreneur, a creative entrepreneur who deals with economy through trade-offs. Avoiding the systematic accumulation of capital, the anti-hero entrepreneur only seeks its sole reproduction to allow survival of creation. Nuanced implications about creative work within economic interests then arise; we return to the literature to describe how our findings and theorizing open the discussion on the economic actions and attitudes of creative agents.