Congratulations to Dr. Silvia Lindtner on defending her thesis this afternoon, “Cultivating Creative China: Making and Remaking Cities, Citizens, Work and Innovation”
“What is the role of creativity in contemporary visions of change and as an aspect of innovation in economies reorienting towards knowledge production such as that of China? Chinese politicians and countercultural technology “makers” seem to agree that creativity is central to China’s development, but do they have the same in mind? How is the notion of creativity simultaneously woven into the governance of everyday urban space, ideas of selfhood and citizenship, and stories of personal and corporate innovation?
This dissertation examines what goes into making narratives of creativity across a range of domains in contemporary China, including central government investments in the so-called creative industry, regional efforts in urban renewal, and grass-roots efforts to promote open source and related forms of commons production. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, it traces how creativity is invoked and cultivated across the areas of hacking, DIY (do it yourself) making and coworking, policy and political narrative. By making, this dissertation takes serious the material and semiotic co-productions that come out of the desire to promote creativity as the way of the future, including the making of spaces, ideas of selfhood and citizenship, and stories of innovation. The lens of making allows us to see that narratives and the material manifestations of cultivating creative China are made through transnational collaborations and visions of global change rather than constituting their outcome. Approaching narratives of creativity through the lens of making challenges dichotomies such as official culture and counterculture, or netizen and citizen. It suggests pay attention to the ways in which people continuously make and remake their social position. A focus on making includes a reorientation from studying making in retrospect towards studying the moments-of-making narratives and things. This is a move from studying the ways in which people people re-imagine the world towards studying how they in so doing also make new worlds. ”
- Paul Dourish (Chair)
- Melissa Mazmanian
- Tom Boellstorff
- Mimi Ito
- Jeffrey Wasserstrom