Arts and creativity: working on identity and difference

9th Midterm Conference of the Research Network "Sociology of the Arts"

The arts are undergoing deep changes in the social, cultural, economic and ecological environments & governance frameworks in which they operate today. A specific combination of various factors increases the challenges faced by arts and the potentialities for sociological inquiry. Some of these combined factors are: the international and local dynamics of cultural organizations and art markets, the volatility of private and public funding, the openness and uncertainty of evaluation and recognition of artistic work, the intrinsic nature of art work, the relationship of the arts to the creative economy and the related politics for the so-called ‘creative agenda’, the diverse and renewed forms of audiences’ participation, and the impact of art on social cohesion and identity-making.

The ESA Research Network Sociology of the Arts aims to provide the sociological contexts for understanding all these multifaceted and interwoven aspects which characterize the art worlds in societies nowadays. The general topic of this Conference focuses on arts and creativity, questioning the processes through which in an increasingly global, open, different and multicultural world artistic creativity is (re)defined, fostered, evaluated and asserted. Focusing the debate on the relationship between arts and plural societies, on the one side, and on the place and statute attributed to art by the new rhetoric of the creative agenda and the creative economy, on the other side, the Conference aims to critically debate the role of the arts as a pillar of cultural, socialecological and socioeconomic development, of social cohesion and active citizenship, as well as on the processes of identities construction. Thus, the approach will focus on the diverse ways through which the arts are intertwining with processes of identity-making, both at individual and collective levels, and the material and symbolic reframing of social, economic and cultural differences in contemporary societies.

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