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Creating creativity: reflections from fieldwork

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The present article addresses the question of ‘When can we say something is creative?’ and, in answering it, takes a critical stand towards past and present scientific definitions of creativity. It challenges an implicit assumption in much psychological theory and research that creativity exists as an ‘objective’ feature of persons or products, universally recognised and independent of social agreement and cultural systems of norms and beliefs. Focusing on everyday life creative outcomes, the article includes both theoretical accounts and empirical examples from a research exploring creativity evaluations in the context of folk art. In the end, a multi-layered perspective of creativity assessment emerges, integrating dimensions such as newness and originality, value and usefulness, subjective reception and cultural reception of creative products. Implications for how we understand and study creativity are discussed.

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