Creativity As Cultural Participation

Understanding creativity means understanding the various systems that contribute to its development and manifestation: from the biological to the cultural, from individual expression to social dynamics. This systemic view dominates today’s literature on the topic, being explicitly adopted by Hennessey and Amabile in their most recent Annual Review presentation of creativity. The two authors, while supportive of this approach, also warned against fragmentation and lack of dialogue between specialists working at different “ends” of the creativity system. By definition, a system includes both components and interactions and “the ‘whole’ of the creative process must be viewed as much more than a simple sum of its parts”. And yet creativity in psychology has been very often “read” at only one level, the individual one, and only relatively recently have social and cultural perspectives been acknowledged as valuable for its study. This article aims to bring the two general levels of analysis together, arguing against segmentation and partial understandings that treat creativity as either individual or sociocultural. The main argument developed here is that creativity is both individual and sociocultural mainly because individuals themselves are socio-cultural beings. As a consequence, a creative expression is also a form of cultural expression and, ultimately, one of the most illustrative forms of cultural participation: engaging with cultural artefacts to produce new cultural artifacts, employing culture to generate culture.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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