Creatives, Hackers and Intellectuals: A New Direction for the Humanities or a Dead End?
Since the end of WWII, intellectual labour has steadily come to the centre of economic activity. While perhaps more obvious in the applied sciences, recent years have stressed the importance of the humanities (sometimes re-branded as the ‘culture industries’) as drivers of economic prosperity. This paper critically examines attempts to reposition the humanities in this way, focussing particularly on arguments about ‘the rise of the creative class’, the outlaw figure of the ‘hacker’ and the attempt to defend the idea of the public intellectual against the narrow expert. Although having significant differences, not least of which are political, it is argued that such accounts are often based on highly romanticised notions of intellectuals and intellectual labour, and thereby help to valorise and normalise the distinctive social relations of intellectuals and those trained in the techniques of intellectuality.
Keywords: Creativity, Humanities, Creative Class, Hackers, Intellectuals, Ideology
Dr. Christopher Scanlon
Researcher, Globalism Institute, RMIT University, Melbourne