The Industrialization of Creativity and its Limits Values, Politics and Lifestyles of Contemporary Cultural Economies
Creativity loosely refers to activities in the visual arts, music, design, film and performance that are primarily intended to produce forms of affect and social meaning. Yet, over the last few decades, creativity has also been explicitly mobilized by governments around the world as a ‘resource’ for achieving economic growth. The creative economy discourse emphasizes individuality, innovation, self-fulfillment, career advancement and the idea of leading exciting lives as remedies to social alienation. This book critically assesses that discourse, and explores how political shifts and new theoretical frameworks are affecting the creative economy in various parts of the world at a time when creative industries are becoming increasingly ‘industrialized.’ Further, it highlights how work inequalities, oligopolistic strategies, competitive logics and unsustainable models are inherent weaknesses of the industrial model of creativity. The interdisciplinary contributions presented here address the operationalization of creative practices in a variety of geographical contexts, ranging from the UK, France and Russia, to Greece, Argentina and Italy, and examine issues concerning art biennials, museums, DIY cultures, technologies, creative writing, copyright laws, ideological formations, craft production and creative co-ops.
This chapter focuses on discursive constructions of creativity in the Greek public sphere in connection to the Greek government debt crisis. Instrumentalized by policy makers and pundits pursuing neoliberal reforms in Greece, creativity is understood to serve a mode of biopolitical governmentality. This is connected to the production of a national consensus over the necessity for neoliberal reforms and to the individualization of the risks and insecurity that such reforms entail. This chapter looks at specific public discursive constructions of creativity in Greece from 2010 onward. Specifically, the creativity discourse is approached in both its progressive and conservative articulations as articulated by the social democrat Giorgos A. Papandreou, Greece’s prime minister during the first years of the crisis (2009–2011), and the conservative Kyriakos K. Mitsotakis, Greece’s prime minister in 2019 and at the time of writing. Simultaneously, this chapter foregrounds the examples of success stories of creative ventures that received publicity in Greece so as to unfold other examples of a hegemonic discourse meant to motivate society on a post-political, entrepreneurial, and nationalistic basis. Such success stories develop through the didactic narratives that proliferate in Greece’s mainstream news and lifestyle media, which are meant to establish a creative paradigm as a way out of unemployment and recession. Here, creativity forms a public repertoire that fabricates the crisis into a so-called opportunity for development that is borne through entrepreneurship.