The Rise of Creative Governmentality

Project: Externally funded project

Project Details


Richard Florida’s works stand out as the holy writings of the ‘creative age’. Presented as iconoclastic, they set out to break down the ‘artificial boundaries’ between the creative and the economic. They have spurred considerable debate and critique from different quarters: conservatives have mainly focused on cultural issues, such as how Florida’s work questions traditional family values, while progressive commentators have stressed the elitist implications of this new ‘class’ discourse accused of insidiously promoting a neoliberal agenda. In this project, we elaborate on the latter critique. Drawing on Foucault’s concept of governmentality, we aim to describe how ‘creative class’ members are governed by the new creative ethos. Following the framework introduced by Dean, we study: - What is being governed: the creative class, allegedly representing one third of the ‘most advanced’ Western societies, and driving their economic growth - How government is achieved: through a scientific guise, i.e. the introduction of the three Ts (Technology, Talent and Tolerance) and the correlations established between them and economic success - Who we become when governed: workaholic, consumerist and apolitical ‘bohemians’ who value individuality, meritocracy, diversity and openness; but also, flexible immaterial labour, working in increasingly precarious conditions - Why we are governed that way: because being talented, tolerant and cool is fundamentally good; we are the winners of the creative age, so anything that’s for losers (e.g. unions, job security, limited working hours) is not for us Another, more hidden reason for this governmentality is the promotion of flexibility through a hegemonic ‘idea whose time has come’. We end the paper by reflecting on ourselves as potential members of the ‘creative class’: to what extent are we being governed by this ethos and in turn how is increasing flexibility redefining the conditions of work?
Effective start/end date01.01.200701.01.2008


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