Andreas Reckwitz

The Invention of Creativity - On the Aestheticisation of Society

(German title: Die Erfindung der Kreativität)
ca. 408 pages
Andreas Reckwitz
Foto: Andreas Reckwitz
© Jürgen Bauer

Andreas Reckwitz, born in 1970, is professor of social theory and cultural sociology at Humboldt University, Berlin. His 2017 book The Society of Singularities was nominated for the Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair and awarded the Bayrischer Buchpreis. In 2018, he received a Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz-Preis. In 2019 he will be Fellow at Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles.

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English world rights (Polity), Denmark (Reitzels), Korea (Saemulgyul), Poland (National Centre for Culture)


Be creative!  In today’s society the pressure and the desire to be creative and to produce ever newer things is extraordinarily widespread.

What was once reserved for the artistic sub-culture has now become a universal model of culture, a cultural imperative, in fact. Andreas Reckwitz explores how the ideal of creativity gathered steam over the course of the 20th century: in avant-garde and postmodern art, in the ‘creative industries’ and the innovation economy, in the psychology of creativity and personal growth as well as in the depiction of creative stars by the media and in the urban planning of ‘creative cities’.

In the course of his investigation, Reckwitz shows how we are living in an age dominated by radical and restrictive processes of societal aestheticisation.


»With great acuity and scientific documentation, cultural scientist Andreas Reckwitz explains why creativity is today seen as a ›natural‹, human faculty, that we consider to be indispensible for our personal development and expression.« Frankfurter Rundschau

»Reckwitz excels in his ability to distil the results of these studies into a concise and coherent analysis. This book is unquestionably worth reading – for anyone who wonders if and why they need, and want, to be creative all the time.« dradio.de

»It is astonishing, as Reckwitz cogently argues, that it is not that the economy has systematically undercut and commercialised the field of creativity, but that on the contrary creativity itself has long since become the driving force and the essential characteristic of today’s global economy. As a result, this is not a book exclusively for cultural sociologists and creative professionals, but rather for anyone who would like to understand what drives our society today and where it is headed.« Fixpoetry

»The Invention of Creativity by Andreas Reckwitz, published as part of the Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Wissenschaft series, is truly a revelation. While everyone is busy falling for the hype surrounding creativity and declaring it a basic human trait with the motto ›everyone’s creative‹, Reckwitz pulls the sociological emergency brake and questions the wholesale stylisation of creativity as a norm, as dogma – with the slogan: ›We want to be creative; and we have to be creative‹. The book is not a mere historical reconstruction, however, but rather an ambitious attempt to understand creativity and our insatiable appetite for novelty through the lens of sociological theory.« changeX

Other publications

Das Ende der Illusionen/The End of Illusions (2019)

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English world rights (Polity), Spanish world rights (Nola), Denmark (Reitzels)

Die Gesellschaft der Singularitäten/The Society of Singularities (2017)

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English world rights (Polity), Chinese simplex rights (Social Sciences Academic Press), Russia (Directmedia), France (MSH), Denmark (Reitzels), Korea (Saemulgyul), Slovenia (Krtina), Turkey (Tün Kitap)