Nick J. Fox – Creativity, anti-humanism and the ‘new sociology of art’

The emergence of a ‘new sociology of art’ that seeks a more nuanced understanding of the agency of art objects and the temporal trajectories surrounding artistic production, requires a review of sociology’s uneasy engagement with creativity. This paper applies an antihumanist ontology to assert that creativity is profoundly sociologically interesting, and key to the production of human culture, from science and technology to the arts to social forms and institutions. Analysis of auto-ethnographic data on the production of a painting of Australian mallée woodland establishes three propositions for an anti-humanist sociology of creativity: that creative production is part of an open-ended flow of affect between assembled human and non-human elements; that affective flows produce creative capacities to act, feel and desire in bodies; and that products of creativity such as artworks are themselves affects and consequently contribute to the production of social life, the world and human history.

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