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Struggling with the Creative Class




This article develops a critique of the recently popularized concepts of the ‘creative class’ and ‘creative cities’. The geographic reach and policy salience of these discourses is explained not in terms of their intrinsic merits, which can be challenged on a number of grounds, but as a function of the profoundly neoliberalized urban landscapes across which they have been traveling. For all their performative display of liberal cultural innovation, creativity strategies barely disrupt extant urban‐policy orthodoxies, based on interlocal competition, place marketing, property‐ and market‐led development, gentrification and normalized socio‐spatial inequality. More than this, these increasingly prevalent strategies extend and recodify entrenched tendencies in neoliberal urban politics, seductively repackaging them in the soft‐focus terms of cultural policy. This has the effect of elevating creativity to the status of a new urban imperative — defining new sites, validating new strategies, placing new subjects and establishing new stakes in the realm of competitive interurban relations. L’article présente une critique des concepts de ‘classe créative’ et ‘villes créatives’ publiés récemment. La portée géographique et la pertinence politique de ces discours s’expliquent non par leurs mérites intrinsèques, ceux‐ci pouvant être remis en question à plus d’un titre, mais en tant que fonction des paysages urbains fortement néolibéraux qu’ils ont traversés. Quant à leur manifestation concrète de l’innovation culturelle libérale, les stratégies de créativité dérangent à peine les orthodoxies qui subsistent en politique urbaine, fondées sur une compétition interlocale, un marketing de lieu, une expansion axée sur la propriété et le marché, un embourgeoisement et une inégalité socio‐spatiale normalisée. Mais surtout, ces stratégies toujours plus présentes prolongent et recodifient des tendances bien installées en politique urbaine néolibérale, les rhabillant de manière attrayante dans un flou artistique terminologique de politique culturelle. Ainsi, la créativité est élevée au statut de nouvel impératif urbain pour définir de nouveaux sites, valider de nouvelles stratégies, positionner de nouveaux sujets et instaurer de nouveaux enjeux dans la concurrence interurbaine.

Suggested Citation

  • Jamie Peck, 2005. "Struggling with the Creative Class," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 740-770, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ijurrs:v:29:y:2005:i:4:p:740-770
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2427.2005.00620.x

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