1932

Abstract

Recurrent, most recently Romantic, ideologies conceptualize creativity as the solitary, ex nihilo creation of products of self-evident and universal value—most emblematically in the field of art—by highly exceptional individuals. Such ideologies obscure the social dimensions of creativity that come into view via anthropological analysis: () the nature and ubiquity of creative processes as communicative and improvisational events, with real-time emergent properties, involving human and nonhuman agents in the context of pre-existing yet malleable genres and constraints; () the role of socialization in the making of creative individuals, implicating processes of social reproduction; and () the processes by which certain objects and individuals are recognized and constructed as exemplars of creativity and thus acquire their value. This review discusses these dimensions by synthesizing cultural and linguistic/semiotic anthropological research. It concludes by addressing the recent transformation of creativity into the neoliberal philosopher's stone and the potential contribution of anthropology to the demystification of this transformation.

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2014-10-21
2024-04-15
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