Different Like Me: Social Exclusion and the Recognition of Creativity in Advertising Organizations
Zavisca, Jane R.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoRelease after 31-May-2018
AbstractHistorically considered a "gift" from an other-worldly source, today creativity is championed by politicians and business leaders for its economic value. Yet we know relatively little about how people and ideas come to be viewed as creative in real-world business organizations. In this dissertation, I examine the social process of recognizing creativity through an investigation of a quintessential creative industry--advertising. Using a mixed methodological approach, I draw on original data collected through a survey of a probability sample of U.S. advertising agencies, semi-structured interviews with survey respondents, and several months of participant observation in an agency. I find that social exclusion shapes the recognition of creativity in these ostensibly open and tolerant sectors of the labor market. Socioeconomic status and gender affect occupational entry and advancement through evaluations that rely on familiarity with high-status culture and identity characteristics that match artistic stereotypes to signal creativity. Additionally, the assessment of creative work itself is used as a form of boundary work to exclude those outside the profession from making contributions considered creative. Taken together, this dissertation suggests that although creativity has been widely heralded as a force for expanding opportunity and social progress, inequality plays an enduring role in the formation and maintenance of this workforce.
Degree ProgramGraduate College