1st Edition

Creative Work and Distributions of Power

By Michael Hanchett Hanson Copyright 2025
    272 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    272 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Creative Work and Distributions of Power is a journey towards an energized and expanded space for considering power in discussions of creative work.

    Starting with the participatory creativity framework, this book expertly guides readers through case studies of two very different examples of creative work: the 20th-century groundbreaking systems theorist Gregory Bateson and the current musician / polymath Tyler, The Creator. Through skillfully interwoven narrative and theory, chapters provide readers with a deep understanding of the roles of power in the ways creativity emerges from complex social, material, and historical systems. Thoughtful metalogues featured throughout the book bring readers into the minds of the authors, illustrating the very processes being analyzed. The result is a model of the functions of creative work in mediating personal capacities and larger societal forces.

    This critical addition to the discourse around creativity and its practice is an ideal first step in understanding creative work and distributions of power for readers in creativity studies, as well as sociology and psychology courses.

    Part 1: Launch  1. Metalogue: What are we doing here?  2. Metalogue: Do we need a map?  3. Metalogue: What do we mean by “participation”?  Part 2: Toward an Ecological Epistemology  4. Introduction: Gregory Bateson  5. Gregory Bateson: The Art of Science  6. Metalogue: Wait! Did he say free will is a rat in a maze?  7. Metalogue: Is purpose good or bad?  8. Dolphins, Context, and Creative Power  9. Metalogue: Do we need this ladder? Part 3: Through Enchanted Mountains of Theory  10. Introduction: Power Theories and Their Metaphors  11. Budgets, Economies, and Ecologies  12. Investments, Games, and Fields  13. Metalogue: What field is this?  14. Enchanted and Haunted Fields  15. A Mediation Model of Purpose and Power 2.0  16. Metalogue: Why not “mind”? Part 4: Sojourn in a Land of Semiotic Disruption  17. Introduction: Tyler, The Creator  18. Tyler, The Creator: The Local Creative Eco-System  19. Tyler, The Creator: Audiences, Contexts, and Controversies  20. The Artist as Young Ironist  21. Metalogue: Are we studying, genius, perfect storms, or collusion with the world?  Part 5: Return  22. Metalogue: What did we do here?  23. Freedom, Power, and Work  24. Invitation


    Michael Hanchett Hanson is a developmental psychologist; Director of the Masters Concentration in Creativity and Cognition at Teachers College, Columbia University; a founding board member and Secretary of the International Society for the Study of Creativity and Innovation (ISSCI); a member of the Chair Homo Creativus, Université de Paris Cité, and President of Contexts R+D, a research and consulting practice.

    This book has a powerful message: that power itself is distributed across flexible, connected systems. Through thought provoking analyses, dialogues and metalogues, we learn to see power and creativity anew. A classic in participatory analysis.

    Vlad Glăveanu, Dublin City University, Ireland


    What do Gregory Bateson and Tyler, The Creator have in common? From these case studies, Hanchett Hanson with his colleagues reveal the inside story of creative eco-systems. An essentiel read to understand the complex ingredients, including purpose and power, that combine to yield creative work.

    Todd Lubart, Université Paris Cité, France


    Michael Hanchett Hanson and his colleagues broaden the discussion of creativity from the narrow focus on ideas and individuals to systems, both ecological and economic. Creativity is about broadening our world and this book does exactly that.

    Zorana Ivcevic Pringle, Yale University, USA