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Creativity and Beyond

Cultures, Values, and Change

Robert Paul Weiner

Publication Year: 2000

Explores how historical, artistic, and technological developments and cross-cultural exchange have altered our conceptions of creativity. Creativity and Beyond offers a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary tour of cultures past and present to examine the different ways people have conceived of “creativity” and how the common understanding of creativity is changing in the current flux of global culture. Weiner analyzes the ways in which understanding creativity is tied to broader contemporary patterns, including intellectual concerns with postmodernism; trends in the arts; the changing status of women; the power of the electronic media; multiculturalism; developments in psychology, science, and technology; and the dramatic political, economic, and social transformations of our age.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Creativity and Beyond: Cultures, Values, and Change

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix

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pp. xi-xii

This book attempts to say something creative about creativity.
I have loved working on the book. Since I began a decade ago, almost everything I've studied and experienced, almost everyone I've spoken with, has turned out to have some connection to the subject of creativity, ...

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pp. 1-14

Creativity, understood as bringing something new into being, is a major value in our society. It may not be articulated as such in our major political or religious documents, but it is something that most Americans,1 and many other people around the world care about deeply. ...

Part One: The Formulation of the Concept of "Creativity" in Western History

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pp. 15

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1. Creativity, The West, and History

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pp. 17-24

All around us are structural, technological, institutional, artistic, economic, and social creations of the past. From the Brandenburg Concertos to computers, to agriculture, to a custom like shaking hands, forms of life have been invented which have had so much staying power that we take them for granted. ...

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2. The Bible

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pp. 25-32

As powerful, long-lasting, and impressive as the Egyptian and Mesopotamian cultures were, their influence on subsequent Western culture was slight compared to that of the numerically, politically, and materially much weaker Jews. ...

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3. Ancient Greece and Rome

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pp. 33-42

Since the Renaissance, Western culture has looked upon ancient Greece as a singularly creative society, responsible for inventing or significantly shaping our understanding of the sciences, politics, philosophy, drama, poetry, sculpture. ...

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4. Tradition and Imitation in the Medieval West

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pp. 43-51

Following the traditional building imagery of the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament calls Peter the "rock" upon whom Jesus would establish his church, and for the next several centuries, the Church asserted itself against Romans, Jews, and other Christian denominations by claiming direct succession to this founding. ...

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5. The Renaissance and the Invention of the Creative Ideal

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pp. 53-64

By 1592, when Sir John Davies wrote, "To create, to God alone pertains," (1967, vii:46),1 he was fighting what amounted to a rear-guard action against poets, artists, and thinkers of the past century who had begun to apply the word, "create" to human doing. ...

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6. The Enlightenment

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pp. 65-73

When Michel de Montaigne said in 1580 that "strangeness and novelty . . . generally give things value" (1958, 137)—an early expression of capitalistic understanding of supply and demand—his distance from the medieval idea that tradition and divine authority determine value was striking. ...

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7. Revolution, Modernity, and The Invention of Creativity

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pp. 75-96

The Enlightenment concepts of reason and progress have continued, in many ways, to characterize major tendencies of modern thought, particularly in terms of economic and scientific thinking. ...

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8. Creativity in the Contemporary Global Context [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 97-121

While the word "creativity" had been invented seventy years earlier, and a continuous stream of writers, inventors, artists and others had contributed to the cultural development of the idea of creativity, World War II nonetheless marks a kind of watershed in the history of the concept and its role in our society.1 ...

Part Two: Cross-Cultural Variables

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pp. 123

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9. The Ideology of Creativity in the United States

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pp. 125-142

Since the creativity of other cultures is so impressive and American ideas about creativity are so inextricably bound with the traditional ideas of Western culture, it might seem mere chauvinism to focus a special chapter on creativity in the United States. ...

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10. Conceptions of Creativity in "Tradtional" and "Non-Western" Cultures

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pp. 143-172

As we have seen, the context for creativity at the end of the twentieth century is global: New York museums display Yoruba master carvings near Dutch master paintings; Kuwaiti businesspeople discuss ideas from American self-actualization psychology as well as business innovation with their Indonesian counterparts; ...

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11. China: From Traditional Cultures Through Revolution To...? [Includes Image Plates]

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pp. 173-202

China holds one-fifth of the planet's population, has one of the longest continuous histories of any culture, and has brought forth philosophies, art, and inventions that people throughout the world have long revered.1 ...

Part Three: Creativity in Practice

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pp. 203

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12. Everyday Obstacles to Creativity in Our Society

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pp. 205-235

While traditional and non-Western societies may resist or present alternatives to increasingly global ideology of creativity, even within the West, creative efforts routinely encounter a wide range of obstacles. In fact, in a society such as ours whee creative fulfillment is so prized, whatever seems to be in the way of that fulfillment will be viewed negatively. ...

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13. Creativity and Some Contemporary Policy Issues in the United States

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pp. 237-251

The many ways in which creativity may be questioned or blocked are to be found in all human societies to differing degrees. While the United States may not present as many authoritarian legal-political blocks as most countries, its aim of adhering to "the rule of law" means that almost any obstacle mentioned above may spur legal or political responses. ...

Conclusion: Creativity and Beyond

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pp. 253-270


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pp. 271-303


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pp. 305-330

Index [Includes Back Cover]

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pp. 331-353

E-ISBN-13: 9780791493144
E-ISBN-10: 0791493148
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791444771
Print-ISBN-10: 0791444775

Page Count: 353
Publication Year: 2000