The Sociology of Creativity: Elements, Structures, and Audiences

Posted: 14 Aug 2020

See all articles by Frédéric Godart

Frédéric Godart

INSEAD - Organisational Behavior

Sorah Seong

University of Washington

Damon J. Phillips

Columbia University - Columbia Business School, Management

Date Written: July 2020

Abstract

This review integrates diverse characterizations of creativity from a sociological perspective with the goal of reinvigorating discussion of the sociology of creativity. We start by exploring relevant works of classical social theory to uncover key assumptions and principles, which are used as a theoretical basis for our proposed definition of creativity: an intentional configuration of cultural and material elements that is unexpected for a given audience. Our argument is enriched by locating creativity vis-à-vis related concepts—such as originality, knowledge, innovation, atypicality, and consecration—and across neighboring disciplines. Underlying the discussion are antecedents (structure, institutions, and context) and consequences (audiences, perception, and evaluation), which are treated separately. We end our review by speculating on ways in which sociologists can take the discussion of creativity forward.

Suggested Citation

Godart, Frédéric and Seong, Sorah and Phillips, Damon J., The Sociology of Creativity: Elements, Structures, and Audiences (July 2020). Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 46, pp. 489-510, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3670072 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-soc-121919-054833

Frédéric Godart (Contact Author)

INSEAD - Organisational Behavior ( email )

Finance area, Boulevard de Constance
Fontainebleau 77305
France

Sorah Seong

University of Washington ( email )

Seattle, WA 98195
United States

Damon J. Phillips

Columbia University - Columbia Business School, Management ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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