Broadening Conceptual Horizons of Creativity. a Comparative Analysis of Creative Processes through the Case of Community Managed Socio-Cultural Centers in Two Differentiated Urban Contexts.

Thursday, 19 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Maria Victoria BELANDO, University of Barcelona, Spain
Matias ZARLENGA, Universidad Tres de Febrero, Argentina
Economics, management and political sciences have been deeply influencing the definition and uses of creativity in cities during the last thirty years. As many scholars have shown, this fact -that has been related to welfare state retrenchment and the rise of cultural-cognitive economy-, has led to a fuzzy, narrow, instrumental and normative approach to creativity. Despite the increasing efforts to “unpack” the notion of creativity from different perspectives, the sociological analysis of practices that allow broadening the understanding of creativity is an incipient area of research. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to contribute to the development of a sociological approach to the analysis of creativity in urban dynamics. We argued that creativity cannot be reduced to a market rationality point of view because empirical reality is challenging this reductionism. Since the crisis in 2008 the proliferation and consolidation of bottom-up creative practices (as community and self-managed socio-cultural centers or the so-called creative brownfields) based on redistributive and reciprocity social relations are claiming for the adoption of perspectives that consider creativity as a socially and historically embedded process. Thus, we wonder, what kind of rationalities and social relations shape this kind of creative practices in a determined socio-territorial context?, what kind of notion of creativity arises from these alternative practices?, and how urban and organizational context shapes and guides this kind of cultural creativity processes? We examine this problem through a comparative approach that analyzes a significant sample of community-managed socio-cultural centers located in Barcelona and in Buenos Aires. We have collected data using qualitative methods that include observation, in-depth interviews and the study of documentary sources.