Creativity, habit, and the social products of creative action: Revising Joas, incorporating Bourdieu
Dalton, B. (2004). Creativity, habit, and the social products of creative action: Revising Joas, incorporating Bourdieu. Sociological Theory, 22(4), 603-622.
Hans Joas’s The Creativity of Action (1996) posits that conceiving of all action as fundamentally creative would overcome problems inherent in rational and normative theories of action and would provide an alternative basis for action-based theories of macrosociological phenomena. Joas conceives of creativity as a response to the frustration of “prereflective aspirations,” which necessitates innovative adjustment to reestablish habitual intentions. This conceptualization creates an unsupportable duality between habitual action and creativity that neglects other possible sources of creative action, including habit itself. Combining strengths from Bourdieu’s concept of habitus, creativity can be redefined as the necessary adaption of habitual practices to specific contexts of action. Creative action continually introduces novel possibilities in practical action and provokes a variety of social responses to its products. This revised concept of creativity overcomes the dichotomy presented by Joas, identifies a microsocial source of innovation in creative action, and calls attention to patterns of creative authority in society at large.