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Creativity and culture: towards a cultural psychology of creativity in folk art

Glăveanu, Vlad Petre (2012) Creativity and culture: towards a cultural psychology of creativity in folk art. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The present thesis aims to explore creativity as representation, action and cultural participation in the context of a traditional folk art. It develops a cultural psychological approach to the phenomenon, one that considers creativity situated between creators, creations, audiences, and a complex background of norms and beliefs. A tetradic framework is thus formulated trying to capture the dynamic between self and other, “new” and “old” in creative production and in particular their inter-relation through processes of integration, externalisation, internalisation and social interaction. This model guided the research design, starting from the three main questions of the thesis: how people attribute creative value to the craft, what makes the activity of decoration creative and how children’s engagement with this practice develops during ontogenesis. The folk art chosen for this study is Easter egg decoration in two socio-cultural milieus in Romania, the urban setting of Bucharest and the village of Ciocăneşti. This craft was selected for its rich symbolism and polyphony of practices that situate it at the intersection between folklore, religion, art and a growing market. In this context, the first research included in the thesis investigates patterns of creativity evaluation in the case of ethnographers, priests, art teachers and folk artists and highlights their relation to the practices and beliefs particular for each of these groups. The second study uses a pragmatist-inspired model to analyse creative action in the case of decorators from the urban and rural setting and outlines the general stages and micro-genetic aspects of creativity specific for both contexts. Finally, the last piece of research considers creativity development in the two settings above as shaped by different practices of socialisation and enculturation. In the end, reflections are offered on the general conception of egg decoration as mastery in ways that bring to the fore the interdependence between tradition and creativity and suggest the existence of habitual forms of creative expression.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Vlad Petre Glăveanu
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Sets: Departments > Psychological and Behavioural Science
Supervisor: Jovchelovitch, Sandra

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