Culture, Communication, and Creativity

Reframing the Relations of Media, Knowledge, and Innovation in Society

by Hubert Knoblauch (Volume editor) Mark D. Jacobs (Volume editor) René Tuma (Volume editor)
©2014 Edited Collection IV, 395 Pages


It is the premise of this volume that the rising importance of creativity in modern culture is related to dramatic changes in communication. In the last decades we have witnessed a revolutionary change in the ways we interact with one another. This transformation of the structure of communication is one of the most decisive aspects of the creativity of culture. The full aim of this volume therefore is to explore the resulting transformation in the relations of culture, creativity, and communication.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Culture, Communication, and Creativity
  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction: Culture, Communication, and Creativity
  • Reframing Knowledge and Communication in Culture
  • ReframingCreativity
  • The Structure of this Book
  • References
  • I Culture and Creativity
  • Creativity as Dispositif
  • References
  • Cultural Conditions of Creation:A Communication-Centered Approach to Reckwitz’ “Creativity Dispositif”
  • Complementary Value Worlds
  • The Aesthetic Dispositif in Major Worlds of Worth
  • References
  • Creative Labor and the Production of Culture: Toward a Sociology of Commonality
  • Situating Creative Work
  • The Uncertainties of Creative Work
  • From Trust to Commonality
  • Interpreting Creativity Collectively
  • References
  • The Networked Amateur: Performing Artsand Participatory Culture in the Continuum Professionals–Amateurs
  • Introduction
  • Towards the Networked Amateur
  • States of Widespread Creativity. From the Spirit of the Avant-Garde to the Digital Artistic Culture: Some Steps
  • Blurred Boundaries for a Closed System. Art and its Public seen by the Artists
  • Spreadable Creativity on Social Network Sites and Online Worlds
  • Second Life experiences
  • Conclusions
  • References
  • Creative Bodies and Creative “Leib”in Everyday Life
  • Introduction
  • The Literature on Creativity: an Interdisciplinary Notion
  • Psychoanalytical theories and psychology
  • Sociology and social psychology
  • Social constructivism in the study of creativity
  • “Creative Bodies”: Creativity in Everyday Life
  • “Creative bodies” and the mind-body dualism
  • “Koerper” and “Leib”: Husserl and Merleau-Ponty
  • The body according to Rudolf Steiner and to esho-funi theory
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • II Creativity and Communication
  • “Anybody got an idea?”Communicative Forms, Roles and Legitimations in the Communicative Genesis and Negotiation of Social Innovations
  • Is Civil Society innovative? Locally Initiated Innovations for the Spatial Development of Problematised Urban Quarters
  • How the New is Distinguished Semantically and Pragmatically from the Old. Methodological Consequences and Theoretical References
  • Towards a Communicative Genesis and Negotiation of Innovative Ideas
  • The communicative genesis and negotiation of innovative ideas in the citizens’ association of Moabit. The organisational framework of the citizens’ association
  • “Anybody got an idea?” Communicative forms and legitimation strategies in the communicative negotiation of “the new” within the citizens’ association of Moabit
  • The communicative genesis and negotiation of innovative ideas in the citizens’ homepage of Moabit. The organisational framework of the citizens’ homepage
  • “But then it’s just like any other.” Problem-discussion and legitimation-strategies in the communicative negotiation of “the new” in the citizens’ homepage of Moabit
  • The Institutionalisation of Innovation Communication—Communicative Forms, Roles and Legitimations
  • References
  • “Creative Documentary Film”: A Cultural Perspective on a Film Genre
  • The French Documentary Film Field
  • The Social Issues of a Filmic Genre
  • The Relation-Image
  • Film Shooting: a Relational Issue, a Transformation
  • Editing: A Performative Dematerialized Act
  • An Expected Visual Literacy
  • The Broken Relation-Image: the Controversy over Darwin’s Nightmare
  • References
  • Photographing as Creative and Communicative Action
  • Photographing as Action
  • The constitution of sense in Schutz’s theory of action
  • The photographic gaze as a special cognitive style
  • The constitution of sense in photographing
  • Photographing as Creative Action
  • Photographing as Communicative Action
  • Photographing in the Digital Mode
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • III Communication and Culture
  • Communication Culture and Powerpoint
  • Introduction
  • From Meaning to Communicative Culture
  • The Communicative Culture of Powerpoint
  • (a) Performance, Space, and Participation structure
  • (b) Communicative Genre and Outer Social Structure
  • Communication Culture
  • References
  • Towards a Sociology of Voice: Exploring Creativity’s Hidden Resources and Constraints
  • Introducing the Sociology of Voice
  • Sociology of Voice: its Multiple Levels
  • Symbolic Dislocation
  • Spatial Dislocation
  • Voice within Collective Framings
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • IV Media and Mediatization
  • Culture, Communication, and the Media:The Challenges of Mediatization Research
  • Introduction
  • Challenge 1: Describing the “Multiplicity of Media Specificity”
  • Challenge 2: Understanding Mediatization in a Non-Mediacentric Way
  • Challenge 3: Analyzing “Change”
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • The Visual, the Optical and the Scopic as Modalities of Mediatization
  • Mediation as Prehension
  • Mediatization
  • Visual, Optical and Scopic Mediation
  • Example: Warfare and Logistics of Perception
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Communication Regimes and Creativity
  • Introduction
  • Sociology of Knowledge and Mediality
  • Subjects and Communication
  • The Dual Character of Objectivations: The Relationship of Media and Experience
  • Communication Regimes
  • Creativity and Communication Regimes: A Media Hermeneutics
  • References
  • Social Media in Organizations: Fostering Creativity and Communication—Changing Culture in the Process
  • Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0: Social Media in Organizations
  • Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0—A Question of Culture, Communication, and Creativity?
  • Methodological Approach and Empirical Basis
  • Enterprise 2.0 Implementation: Discourses on Culture, Communication, and Creativity
  • Enterprise 2.0 and organizational culture
  • Enterprise 2.0 and organizational communication
  • Enterprise 2.0 and creativity
  • Conclusion and Critical Discussion
  • References
  • V Applied Studiesin Culture, Communication and Creativity
  • Highbrow, Omnivore, and Voracious Cultural Consumption Patterns in the Netherlands: An Explanation of Trends between 1975 and 2005
  • Introduction
  • Theoretical Background and Expectations
  • Expectations of trends in cultural consumption patterns
  • The Role of Period Effects and Cohort Effects in Investigating Trends in Cultural Patterns
  • Data and Measurements
  • Time budget surveys 1975-2005
  • Measurements
  • Results
  • Descriptive results
  • Multivariate Results: Cohort, Period, and Composition
  • Conclusions and Discussion
  • References:
  • Time and Space in Mass Media Discourse:The Intercultural Aspect
  • Introduction
  • Theoretical Background
  • Spatiotemporal dimension of media
  • Cultural concepts of time and space: synchronic aspect
  • Cultural concepts of time and space: diachronic aspect
  • Culture and the dominant medium
  • Data Collection and Analysis
  • Representation of time and space in Russian media
  • Representation of time and space in European media
  • Representation of time and space in Turkish media
  • Summary and conclusion
  • References
  • List of editions analyzed (issues for January—August 2012)
  • The Case of Berlin Gas Street Lighting:Translating Engagement into Innovation
  • Introduction
  • Lighting Innovation and the City
  • Mind the Gap
  • Modes of Engaging with Light
  • How toTranslate Engagements
  • Methodology and Approach
  • Rethinking Public Lighting for Berlin
  • A Long Story Coming to an End
  • Incompatible Positions and a “Bridging Technology”
  • Modes of Engaging with Gas Light
  • Competing “Future Goods” and Asymmetric Powers of Translation
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Creativity in Learning Scenarios
  • Introduction
  • Theoretical Background and Research Design
  • Research Design
  • Workshops
  • Learning and Creativity
  • Workshops with Digital Media
  • 3.1 Acting with “Der Schwarm”
  • 3.2 My Smart Fashion
  • Robot DIY
  • Shape Your World with FabLabs
  • Creative Practices and Creative Objects
  • Creative Interaction
  • Creative Objects
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • The Internet and Creativity: Children as Prosumersof Online Cultural Content
  • Introduction
  • Children, Culture, and the Internet
  • Methodology
  • Cultural Consumption and Production with Computers and the Internet
  • Consuming and Producing Culture through the Internet
  • Final Remarks
  • References
  • Stories of Chairs: Digital Media and Participation in Creative Communication
  • The Geographical Framework
  • Communication Design as Strategic Component
  • Stories of Chairs: The Symbolical Framework
  • Community Engagement: Creativity Communicated by Participation
  • The Futureplaces Labs for Citizens
  • “Chés”
  • Closing Remarks
  • References
  • Serious Eats: Community as the Key to Creativity in Wired Popular Culture
  • A Tale of Three Blogs
  • The Success of Serious Eats
  • Food Taste as Habitus or Habit?
  • Dimensions of Community
  • Food Culture as an Art World
  • Full Casts of Characters in the World of Food Art
  • The Community Organization ot the “Serious”
  • References
  • Contributors

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Introduction: Culture, Communication, and Creativity1


In recent years the concept of culture has been subject to significant changes. From a “superstructure” based on economic fact to a “structure of significations” carried by “signs or a cloth of meaning” guiding actors, culture has moved into the focus not only of the humanities. Recently, due to the impact of the “cultural turn” economists have also become interested in culture as a basic resource for the production of wealth. The most prominent formulation of this new interest in culture has been expressed by the notion of creativity. The interest in creativity, for long time a marginal topic of academic interest, became a formula guiding action in many societal fields, such as politics, economics, city planning, and education. The locus for creativity ranges from the individual level of “creative subjects” to the intermediate level (“creative cities”) up to national societies (“creative classes,” “creative nations”) to the policies of international governance organizations. Although the debate over creativity has already neared the limits of its expansion both across structural levels and as a cultural category, one must observe that the notion of creativity still lacks precision (as does its somewhat more “technological” relative, innovation). Given the fact that creativity is primarily used in a normative sense as an ideal, very few attempts have been undertaken to scrutinize the notion as something which has become part of social reality.

This book addresses the role of creativity from the point of view of the sociology of culture, by focusing on creativity as meaning. A major theme of the sociology of culture is that meaning shapes reality by guiding actors and actions. ← 7 | 8 →

It is one of the theses of this book that the rising importance of creativity in modern culture is related to another development: the dramatic changes in communication. In the last decades we have witnessed a revolutionary change in how we communicate with one another. This change has been related to the dissemination of a series of new technologies, infrastructures, and media. Although this change has been variously addressed by social science, e.g. as “the information society” (Webster 1995), as “the network society” (Castells 1996) or as mega-process of “mediatization” (Hepp 2012), its relation to culture has been little understood so far, and even less understood has been the connection between the rise of creativity and communication technologies (for a notable exception see the papers in Sales and Fournier 2007). Given the far-reaching transformation of communication and culture by the new information technologies in the last decades, it is rather surprising that it has not been taken more into consideration as one of the most decisive aspects of the new “productivity” of culture. Note that this does not only refer to the role of media and particularly “mass media culture.” Both have been studied to an extensive degree. The focus here lies on the ways in which culture is transformed by (among other things) the new communication technologies.

The neglect of the role of communication for culture is surprising not only for the empirical reasons which force themselves on almost everyone all over the world. Even more surprising is the neglect of the analytical relation between culture and communication. Aside from some earlier attempts to appreciate the role of communication, e.g. by Leach (1976), the recent transformation demands a fundamental rethinking of the relation between culture and communication. One proposition in this respect consists in the notion of communication culture (Knoblauch 2001) which is suggested to provide a reference point for such a rethinking.

Communication culture starts from the assumption that, in order to become socially relevant, any meaning must be objectified in a way which can be understood by actors. As its objectivation and its understanding constitute the basic aspect of communication (which need not necessarily be linguistic), its meaningfulness constitutes a basic aspect of culture. While meaningfulness refers to actors orientations and, thus, subjectivity, their objectivation does not only imply the signification of meaning but also their materiality and the role of objects. ← 8 | 9 →

The notion of communication culture explicated by Knoblauch, and employed by some other contributors, is however only one of the theoretical proposals made by this volume. Given the plurism of cultural sociology, the volume also includes different proposals. Overall, the major goal of this volume is not to impose a particular analytical tool for all papers; rather, the more modest goal is to indicate relations between the three categories mentioned in the title. Therefore we need to ask in the introduction: how do we link or connect culture, communication, and creativity?

Reframing Knowledge and Communication in Culture

When conceptualizing this volume and the conference to which the topic had been devoted, we were impressed by the proposal to relate creativity and communication to knowledge made by Sales and Fournier (2007). They not only show that communication and information technologies affect innovation, and particularly creativity, they also stress the increased importance of knowledge in contemporary society. Approaching the impact of changes in communication and creativity with respect to knowledge has been, in fact, very close to our own position, for at least two editors are strongly devoted to the sociology of knowledge. There are, however, two reasons why we tried to avoid the notion of knowledge as a basic category.

One of the reasons consists in the very fact that knowledge has turned from a basic category in sociology and the sociology of knowledge to one of the most important categories of societal actors not only in science, but also in politics and economy. By the various attempts to construct a “knowledge society” by a multitude of national and international organizations, “knowledge” has turned so much into an “etic” category that it can hardly escape anymore its often naively positivistic, commodified and—being an explicit goals of neoliberal governance (in which the social sciences play no minor role),— ideological character.

The role of knowledge has not only changed empirically; also its theoretical role has been changing. From the perspective of the sociology of knowledge (Berger & Luckmann 1966), knowledge had been a basic category. The tight link between knowledge and society goes ← 9 | 10 → back to Max Weber’s foundation of sociology. As is widely known, Weber (1978/1921) considered social action to be the basic element of society and, thence, of sociology. Social action is defined by the actor’s meaningful orientation to other actors. Therefore its most basic feature is meaning. This notion of meaning, which is also the fabric of culture, was later taken up and refined by Alfred Schutz. It was Schutz (1974/1932) who, finally, linked meaning to a general notion of knowledge (as the social form of meaning) and, consequently, provided the foundation for a new sociology of knowledge (Knoblauch 2011).

Within the last decade, the sociology of knowledge, particularly in its very lively German context, made a communicative turn (Keller, Knoblauch, Reichertz 2013): Instead of considering communication as a pane through which knowledge can be seen unstained, it started to focus on the forms, genres and patterns of communication in which knowledge is objectified, transmitted and appropriated. Moreover, the sociology of knowledge started to translate Weber’s basic term, social action, into communicative action: social action is empirically (for both, observers as well as participants)always communicative, i.e.expressed in some material, embodied in some form and performed in time and space. It is on the basis of this transformation of social action into communicative action that communication gets into the focus of a discussion of knowledge (for a more elaborated discussion of this argument see Knoblauch 2001, Keller, Reicherz, and Knoblauch 2013).

As mentioned above, the theoretical shift is related to empirical developments; while the social construction of the “knowledge society” turned knowledge from an analytical instrument into a subject matter of sociological study, the move towards communication results also from societal transformation directly linked to our topic. It is the move from social action to communicative action and for the consideration of communication as a basic process in the social construction of culture.

Let us briefly elaborate these arguments. As mentioned above, the notion of “knowledge” as the basic element of contemporary “knowledge society” and its economic correlate, “knowledge production” (Stehr 1994), are themselves subject of a fundamental late modern transformation of society. While modern society was based on industrial production of objects and thus committed to what Habermas (1981) calls the “production paradigm,” the association of knowledge to production misses ← 10 | 11 → one essential change: the production and dissemination of product is not necessarily linked to communication and it is itself part of a communication process (Breton 2007). In fact, knowledge society presupposes and requires communication in some form, be it books or computers.

Second, it is no accident that the expansion of knowledge society is paralleled by an unprecedented proliferation of communication. There is no doubt that this proliferation of communication is due to the enormously rapid expansion of new communication technologies. The integration of microelectronic, information systems and telecommunications, in conjunction with the rapid extension of transportation systems and the explosion of the mobility of persons and objects, have substantial effects on the structure of society and the form of culture.

While the effects of technologies have been addressed by the notion of “information society” (Webster 1995), the fact that these technologies are part and parcel of communicative processes has not been sufficiently acknowledge in sociology. For whatever actions are performed in the arts, in science and in everyday life, are being affected and transformed by the use of technologies. One concept for grasping this transformation and acknowledging the role of technical is “mediatization.” In fact, Krotz (2001) defines mediatization as “a metaprocess relating to both, the overall transformation of society as well as to the human actors and their social relation.” As Hepp (this volume) argues, mediatization provides the basis for the emergence of a “mediatized culture” and the globalized forms of transcultural communication. Both are tending towards international standardization and thus the reproduction of institutional forms; simultaneously, they require subjects to appropriate these standardized forms in their (assumedly “individual”) ways. This appropriation is certainly one aspect of what is called (symbolic) creativity (Willis 1990); another aspect of creativity can be seen in the necessity to adapt standardized general forms to specific situations and situative uses, such as in the situative performance of “information” encoded in diagrams to audiences in interactive powerpoint presentations (cf. Knoblauch 2013).

The dissemination of new technologies has led some to suggest the advent of a postsocial society in which objects demand their own rights. Although there is no doubt that objects, materialities and technologies play a more important role, the postsocial view (Knorr-Cetina 2001) ← 11 | 12 → overlooks the fact that objects, have signification for the users which become materialized in their very use. In this sense, they form part of communicative actions (as van Loon discusses in this volume). If we acknowledge the communicative contexts in which objects are used and in which networks of actors (Latour 2005) act, we may realize that contribute to an intensification of sociality and an extension of communicative culture.

The substitution for knowledge of communication, therefore, affects the very role of knowledge. The dissemination of communication technologies, objects and mobility turns knowledge into something which is not predominantly located in the subject. It, rather, forms part of communicative actions. Even if it is technologically inscribed in machines as “information,” it still is embedded in contexts of actions as materialities which “make sense” to the actors in a way different from mere information. At the same time, the fact that actions are enmeshed in different contexts does affect the concept of actor.

Hence the extension of technologies and materialities in which human actors are embedded has not led to the much proclaimed “death of the subject.” To the contrary, it seems that subjectivation has been enforced to such a degree that while rational decision agents are presupposed by an ever enlarging principle of liberal economy; subjects are also reaffirming themselves by their spirituality which escapes organized religion (Knoblauch 2010). Another form of the reaffirmation of the subject consists in the recent upsurge of creativity.

Reframing Creativity

According to Florida (2004), creativity transforms the social structure of contemporary societies. Indeed, while innovation has been what Fuller (2007) calls the most recent “global policy craze,” its transformation into creativity affects not only arts and higher culture but also economy as well as the kind of capitalism characterized by Reckwitz (this volume) as “aesthetic capitalism.”

Creativity, thus, presupposes a strong notion of subjectivity which transcends the social as having its own potentialities. The appeal to subjectivity accounts for the special skills required in contemporary ← 12 | 13 → capitalism and in a society which is considered much less rational than our modernist forefathers had predicted. In this sense, creativity, as it is e.g. used by Florida (2004), is a normative and legitimatory concept which contributes to the construction of the very phenomenon it claims to presuppose (Godin 2008).

As a socially constructed phenomenon, creativity differs in various respects from innovation: much less than relating to science, to technology and, thence, what “knowledge societies” consider a “knowledge,”creativity addresses the subjective potential to do something new (Hutter, Knoblauch, Rammert & Windeler 2011). As the idea of creativity seems to escape the rationalistic implications of innovation as “cognitive” act, it also escapes the destructive aspect stressed by Schumpeter (1912) that the creation of newness must destroy the old (as modernity supersedes premodernity). Creativity is, in a sense, an “objectivation” of the subject assumed to escape society. It is a form of communicative action which is most intricately linked to culture. Creativity does not need to be a “product” in any material or even industrial sense. Creativity may relate to ideas, to forms of body movements (in dance, sports, or, e.g., dating) but also to objects which in some way relate to the activities of the subject.

It is a form of communicative action which is most intricately linked to culture. While innovation seems to advance rationality, one of the most essential features of creativity seems to be expressive of the subjects considered responsible for the corresponding action (Taylor 1992). As creativity this way almost per definitionem needs to be expressed, it is a form of communicative action which is most intricately linked to culture. Yet, the culture we are talking about cannot be considered as separated from the rest of society, social power and social structure, as structural functionalism suggested (Anheier & Isar 2012). It is, rather, linked to communication in a way which escapes the functionalism of Luhmann (1999) and the separation of “culture” and “system” suggested by Habermas (1981) but allows to connect it to communication in a way which includes the subjects and what they consider as creativity. ← 13 | 14 →

The Structure of this Book

Obviously, the three topics or foci of the book are not seen as merely juxtaposed. Rather, while all three topics have a very general meaning and are unspecific, the combination of the three notions shall serve to provide for a focus of the book. The goal of the book is to link the three topics. Given the theoretical demand, the book also wants to connect theoretical perspective and empirical analysis. For this reason, the order of the book follows the attempt to relate topics to one another.

In the first part the relation between ‘CULTURE AND CREATIVITY’ will be explicated. It starts with the contribution by Andreas Reckwitz, who traces the emergence of a dispositif of creativity in Western Societies, especially taking effect in economy, mass media and in the sciences. To understand this heterogeneous development Reckwitz introduces the concept of three different regimes of “the new” and highlights the role of arts for the most recent and influential form. Michael Hutter takes up this argument and presents his critique to the dichotomy of rationality and creativity he identifies in Reckwitz’ approach. He then draws to studies from a number of fields such as politics, law and economy and highlights that both cultural dispositives are interrelated in empirical cases. In “creative economies” a change of the nature of work itself is taking place. Rudi Laermans analyzes these processes of flexibilization, the introduction of new forms of cooperation that are connected to creative, immaterial labor. The most important quality of creative work is that it leads to uncertainty, that the creative subjects have to deal with constantly. Laermans studies the changing relations within the creative field (co-opetition) and discusses the social reflexive evaluation of creative goods. Giovanni Boccia Artieri and Laura Gemini present their study of the forms of co-evolution between the art system and the forms of communication. They highlight that the engagement of the spectator has become a central element in the creative process, and show how amateurs find a way to express their artistic gesture in online worlds such as Instagram or Second Life. After giving an overview of the most relevant theories on creativity outlined in the different disciplines (especially, psychoanalysis, psychology and sociology) Anna Lisa Tota questions the dualism between mind and body and proposes to clarify the concept of the ← 14 | 15 → social actor involved in several theories of creativity. She proposes to substitute the notion of body with that of “lived body” (Leib) when referring to a creative social actor.

The second part of this book is focusing on the relation between ‘CREATIVITY AND COMMUNICATION’. On the example of urban quarters local engagement Anika Noack shows that processes of local social innovation initiated by civil society actors are institutionalized in specific ritualized communicative forms, such as intellectual games, brainstorming, creativity workshops, problem-discussions. The paper argues that here the constant devaluation and differentiation of the old and revaluation of the new in relation to evaluations and moral values fulfill this function of legitimation within the communicative negotiation of the new. In his study of documentary filmmaking Mathias Blanc focuses on the French development of the genre from the end of the 1980s onwards. During this period, a professional community has emerged by linking creativity discourse to documentary practices. The definition of a documentary film genre has led to the manufacture of a normative look which wants to be at the same time authentic with respect to the object filmed and subjectively engaged. These elements compose and shape a visual culture which distinguishes itself from journalistic practices. Thomas Eberle analyzes photographing starting from a phenomenological perspective as action, then as creative action, and as communicative action. After a detailed analysis he goes into details about how technological change has affected photographing and the communicative uses of photos.

Chapter three is then devoted to the discussion of ‘COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE’, which starts with a paper on Communication Culture and Powerpoint, in which Hubert Knoblauch shows how one can analyze these presentations as communicative actions constituting a special communicative form which, again, is responsible for the construction of contemporary organizations and the way how they are designed, i.e. their communication culture. Nick Couldry explores the concept of voice. In his project, a sociology of voice is interested not just in the conditions for individual production of voice, but in the much wider and deeper conditions whereby certain types of voice are possible. He proposes that sociology must develop a descriptive and conceptual language which is close to the gradients of the landscape within ← 15 | 16 → which individuals speak or are silent, and distant from dominant accounts of what collective culture means.

Closely related to the topic of the previous part, the fourth chapter of the book is dealing with the relation between ‘MEDIA AND CULTURE’. Andreas Hepp analyzes interrelation between socio-cultural and media-communication change. In this undertaking he relates to the term mediatization, which allows him to address challenges of describing the “multiplicity of media specificity,” the challenge of researching mediatization in a “non-mediacentric way,” and the challenge of analyzing “change.”Joost van Loon provides a theoretical engagement with three specific concepts of media. He rethinks “perception” and seeks to establish a form of medium theory that adopts Whitehead’s monistic concept of “prehension.” Connecting information, communication and knowledge to three forms of mediation—the visual, the optical and the scopic (these could be called modes of creativity)—these modalities of mediatization “prehend” very specific forms of knowledge not because they interpret reality differently, but rather because they create different actualities. Boris Traue seeks to establish a media concept compatible with the sociology of knowledge on the basis of which the relations between subjects, media, and communication can be grasped with the term objectivation. Building on this the concept of “communication regimes” takes into consideration the expansion of linguistically and corporeally mediated communication through digital and networked media. How do organizations deal with the challenges of the introduction of internal social media into operational practice? This is the starting question for an empirical Study presented by Sabine Pfeiffer. She is able to show that it is precisely the underestimation of the cultural, communicative, and creative dimensions by the organizations that makes it difficult for them to implement Enterprise 2.0 successfully.

The final part of the book presents empirical studies that are ‘APPLIED STUDIES OF COMMUNICATION, CULTURE AND CREATIVITY’ in empirical cases. Koen van Eijck and Gerbert Kraaykamp offer a quantitative study of media consumption. They analyze the changing patterns of “highbrow” or “popular” consumption and identify a new pattern of what moves both workers and consumers: cultural voraciousness. A comparative approach of the representation of time and ← 16 | 17 → space in mass media is presented by Tatiana Mozhaeva. She compares mass media news articles in diverse ethno cultural contexts: Russia, Western Europe, and the Middle East. Nona Schulte-Römer studies innovation in urban lighting. She proposes a critical perspective on the technical innovation and demonstrates how lighting professionals’ and amateurs’ different modes of engagement with a lighting technology had a material impact on urban design and technical innovation. In the interdisciplinary research project “Subject Formations and Digital Culture—Learning in the Interaction with Digital Artifacts” (SKUDI) Julia Walter-Herrmann and Corinne Büching researched and tried to foster creative learning practices with Digital Media. They present a concept for workshops where young adults interact meaningfully and creative with Digital Media. The internet currently plays a crucial role in cultural practices performed by children. Nuno de Almeida Alves, Ana Delicado, Ana Nunes de Almeida and Diana Carvalho scrutinize children’s use of the internet as an instrument of both cultural consumption and cultural production. Computers and the internet are new means for disseminating centuries old artistic practices such as writing, drawing, and playing a musical instrument, but the practices vary depending on the product and the size of the producer’s social network. Jorge Brandão Pereira and Heitor Alvelos show that in the framework of creative development, digital culture and its dynamic relationship with design and visual communication have generated a new border area, important for the construction and interpretation of communication. Their paper discusses design, communication, digital media participation, local cultures and creativity, focusing on an empirical-based case study of creative communication—how it structures the model of creativity and how it enhances development in local, cultural and social dimensions. Mark D. Jacobs presents a comparative case study of three U.S.-based food blogs to explore the relative vitality of the cultural spheres (elite culture, commercialized culture, and popular culture) they respectively represent, within the affordances of modern communications. He focuses on the significance of community-building to the viability of these various blogs and relates it to the discussion about mass culture. As his exploratory study suggests, the implications for cultural creativity are conditionally variable upon the causal mediation of the variable of community. ← 17 | 18 →


Anheier, H., & Isar, Y. R. (Eds.). (2012). Cultural Expression, Creativity and Innovation. London: Sage.

Berger, P.L., & Luckmann, Th. (1966). The Social Construction of Reality. New York: Free Press.


IV, 395
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2014 (April)
new media cultural creativity innovation new technic
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2014. IV, 395 pp., 10 coloured fig., 7 b/w fig.

Biographical notes

Hubert Knoblauch (Volume editor) Mark D. Jacobs (Volume editor) René Tuma (Volume editor)

Hubert Knoblauch has studied sociology, philosophy and history in Konstanz (Germany) and Brighton (United Kingdom). He was Senior Researcher at King’s College London and Professor for Sociology of Religion at Zurich University. He is Chair for General Sociology/Theories of Modern Societies at the Technical University of Berlin and Chair of the European Sociological Association Research Network on Sociology of Culture. Mark Jacobs is Professor of Sociology at George Mason University, where he was founding director of the first interdisciplinary PhD Program in Cultural Studies in the USA. He is a past chair of the Section on the Sociology of Culture of the American Sociological Association, and chair of the Research Network on Culture of the European Sociological Association. René Tuma is a full-time researcher at the Chair of General Sociology and Theories of Modern Societies at the TU Berlin. He has studied sociology at the TU Berlin and at King’s College London. His research interests include sociology of knowledge, technology, visuality, and interaction as well as qualitative research methods.


Title: Culture, Communication, and Creativity