Universität KonstanzExzellenzcluster: Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration

Genealogy and Practice of the Creative Subject

A Late Modern Form of Cultural Integration?

Prof. Dr. Andreas Reckwitz, Hannes Krämer, Anna-Lisa Müller


This project pursues the question of how the semantics of creativity and the identification of normal or ideal subjectivity with “creativity” were able to become a dominant cultural model since the last quarter of the 20th century, crossing the boundaries of various social fields. The generalization of the imperative to be creative, which in the early culture of modernity was limited to artistic-aesthetic niches, has yet to be fully explained and its practical form is also unclear.

In this connection, three complexes will be dealt with. First, in the form of a historical discourse-analysis, we will conduct an archeological-genealogical reconstruction of how the discourses of aesthetics, economics and psychology und human sciences developed and overlapped from the beginning until the end of the 20th century. These various discourses were then technologized and generalized into a genuinely creative subjectivity—i.e., one that was innovative, directed toward self-growth, etc.

Second, we will undertake an empirical-ethnographic analysis of practices and performances (Inszenierungsweisen) of “creative“ activity, i.e., the production of the “new“ and the self-styling of the creative subject in the realm of the contemporary ”creative industry.”

Third, the project will examine the transformation of urban planning and development in Western Europe since the 1980s, according to the model of a “creative city“ in which political, economic, architectonic and lifestyle practices and discourses intersect.

Andreas Reckwitz is the leader of the project. The project has been provided with two assistantship positions (Hannes Krämer and Anna-Lisa Müller).



Hannes Krämer: Die Praxis der Kreativität. Eine Ethnografie kreativer Arbeit. Bielefeld: transcript 2014


Anna-Lisa Müller: Green Creative City. Konstanz: UVK 2013


Andreas Reckwitz: Die Erfindung der Kreativität. Zum Prozess gesellschaftlicher Ästhetisierung. Berlin: Suhrkamp 2012