Handbook of Research on Creativity
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Handbook of Research on Creativity

Edited by Kerry Thomas and Janet Chan

In this timely work, creativity is not defined by an ideal, rather it encompasses a range of theories, functions, characteristics, processes, products and practices that are associated with the generation of novel and useful outcomes suited to particular social, cultural and political contexts. Chapters present original research by international scholars from a wide range of disciplines including history, sociology, psychology, philosophy, cultural studies, education, economics and interdisciplinary studies. Their research investigates creativity in diverse fields including art, creative industries, aesthetics, design, new media, music, arts education, science, engineering and technology.
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Chapter 5: Creativity as a system in action

Phillip McIntyre


Creativity has been considered from a variety of perspectives and from within a number of disciplines. Starting from a primarily romantic and inspirationist base, one that had developed out of a classical worldview, ideas on creativity have been advanced through the research work of a number of disciplines. Principal among those who have looked seriously at creativity are psychologists and sociologists. Meaningful contributions have also been made from within communication and cultural studies as well as literary theory, education and philosophy and a number of other areas. It is worth summarizing some of these diverse disciplinary approaches here as they are the antecedents that have led to seeing creativity as the emergent property of a system in action. Firstly we need to give a brief account of general systems theory itself. This account will then lead us into the story of how the notion that creativity is systemic developed within creativity research. Once this necessary background is in place we can then set out the specifics of the systems model of creativity and observe how these ideas have been pragmatically applied in a research context.

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