The utopianization of ‘creative work’ is a pronounced feature of postindustrial societies. The author analyzes the attendant promotion of ‘creative leisure’, and its role in supporting discourses and practices of creative work. Through an analysis of Richard Florida’s influential text The Rise of the Creative Class, it is argued that, while creative leisure is offered up as a means of free and autonomous expression, it may be leading, paradoxically, to the erosion of freedom as the terrain of critical and disinterested leisure is pervasively colonized by discourses of economic rationality. Secondly, it is contended that whereas, traditionally, capital has always sought to regulate and administer leisure ‘from above’ — with workers variably ‘resisting’ below — such a model may no longer apply since (according to Florida) creative-class subjects now appear to be actively choosing to perform (rather than being coerced into) economically directed leisure.
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