Although internships are prevalent in communication, cultural, media, and entertainment industries, scholarly literature on internships from communication and cultural studies remains limited. This special issue of tripleC seeks to situate internships within the labour turn in research in communication studies and beyond. The issue will interrogate some of the multiple articulations between and among internships, capitalism, communication, and culture. Employers in the media and cultural sectors are regularly singled out as playing a key role in perpetuating the normalization and intensification of unpaid or low paid intern labour, illuminating the interplay of glamourous occupations, the reserve army of labour, and discount wages. For many young people, internships provide an initial encounter with and formative experience of the capitalist labour market, yet the relationship between internships and the category of exploitation is not necessarily straightforward. And many youth are shut out of internships altogether, highlighting the way class divisions structure entry into communication and cultural industries. Internships are also an emerging trope in popular media culture, with television shows ranging fromGirls to Gallery Girls pointing to the gendered dimension of internships. And, if internships are in the international spotlight today, it is thanks to growing intern labour activism and the way interns and their allies have turned their communicative capacities to alternative ends, raising awareness through DIY video-making, engaging in creative online protest and campaigns, and effectively naming-and-shaming intern employers via social media.
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