This is a short report on work in progress.1 It centres on the idea of ‘creativity’, which is presently of key importance to current UK government thinking about the ‘creative economy’. Creativity, I shall argue, has established itself as a hegemonic term in an increasingly elaborated framework of policy ideas. Although my focus is on the UK, we are addressing a body of thought that is now increasingly international in scope.

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The ideas in question are influential and set the terms for thought and action across a number of policy fields. Not for nothing has David Puttnam, a key New Labour figure, said that ‘the importance of the creative industries was quickly enshrined as an article of faith’.2 An analysis of New Labour discourse reveals an underlying credo – itself a...

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