Books

The Class of the New

Creativity Knowledge Worker Communication

Author: Richard Barbrook
Publisher: Mute

The London based historian and political scientist Richard Barbrook straightens out the image of this creative class that has emerged over the past decade in his book "The Class of the New": Taking London as an example he shows how it is the trend-setters among the young and sub-cultures with their street style who have established the reputation of London as a vibrant cultural metropolis. According to the authorthis do-it-yourself creativity in music, fashion, design or art is then taken up by the creative industry and sold with great success around the world.

Barbrook seeks a current response in his book to the arguments of Richard Florida, the US economist and author of the bestseller "The Rise of the Creative Class". Barbrook is critical of the creative elite idea as put forward in Florida’s definition of the creative class as a small group of specific people in very specific jobs. By contrast Barbrook argues for the idea of creativity en masse: with creativity emerging constantly and everywhere and not only in special creative professions. This is because creative work is an essential for many people for self- expression and the developing of their further potential.

It is not the "creative industries" in themselves that are the targets of Barbrook’s scepticism, but the hype that surrounds them and above all else the fact that they have become a political and ideological agenda. Including the precarious one-person companies. Richard Barbrook scratches at the heroic image of the creative industries, and he does so also in order to propagate a new balance in the industry. There is no need to swing from one extreme to the other.

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