Economies of Creativity

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Module code


  • What is an 'economy'?
  • Are the products of imagination and creativity 'commodities'?
  • In what sense are there different economies (of ideas, of culture, of desire, of politics, for example)?
  • Do the products of imagination and creativity always conform to economic imperatives, or are they capable of resisting and escaping them?

Such are the questions addressed by this module. Throughout, the key theme is critique – how can philosophical theories better equip us to be critically aware of the economic, technological and political conditions affecting acts of creativity and imagination?


This module is assessed either by:

  • 2 x essay (3,000 words each), OR
  • 1 x applied art project and 1 x 2,000 word project analysis

Intended learning outcomes

  • Students will become acquainted with major developments in both the history of philosophy and contemporary philosophy.  
  • Students will appreciate how theories covered fit into our contemporary cultural, political, and socio-economic context.
  • Students will gain an ability to critically assess key concepts, and to apply them to creative work in Philosophy and, where relevant, other fields.
  • Students will acquire enhanced skills in the reading of philosophical texts.
  • Students’ capacities for critical thinking will be significantly enhanced.
  • Students will develop their skills in analysing and engaging with complex positions and arguments.


  • To provide an in-depth understanding of the political, socio-economic, and technological preconditions affecting contemporary creative practices.  
  • To demonstrate the practical applications of philosophical theory as a source of inspiration for creative practices.
  • To introduce key philosophical concepts related to the techno/socio-economic preconditions of creativity, including but not limited to: ‘political economy’, ‘capital’, ‘alienation’, ‘rationalisation’ and ‘libidinal economy’.  
  • To use a wide repertoire of cultural sources to provoke and focus imaginative and creative philosophical thinking: from artworks and films to literary extracts and adverts.
  • To understand contemporary developments in diverse philosophical fields, including, but not limited to: analytic philosophy, literary theory, critical theory, psychoanalysis, phenomenology, hermeneutics, and poststructuralism.
  • To complement the extant Philosophy postgraduate programme, and postgraduate programmes across the University more broadly, including those in Humanities and at Duncan of Jordanstone Art College (DJCAD).


Dr Dominic Smith


Teaching and learning is by seminar, tutorial and individual study. Across the semester, there are 22 hours of seminars plus individual tutorial contact.