Creativity as a Practice of Freedom: Imaginative Play, Moral Imagination, and the Production of Culture

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Book Chapter


The creation of culture is propelled by human imagination that begins in children’s imaginative play: a foundation for the development of moral imagination. In this chapter, we locate creativity within the imaginative play of children, highlighting the ways in which play enables objects and participants to act “as if” and become “other than” what or who they are. Second, we describe the relationship between imaginative play and imagination and creativity, and argue that the engagement of these psychological functions in social practices must be seen in relation to cultural expectations and norms for childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. When supported, these functions contribute to the capacity to both solidify and trouble cultural norms, thus, opening up moral possibilities for “playing with” alternatives and the values that sustain them. Third, we describe the ways in which opportunities for and manifestations of imaginative play, imagination, and creativity are pathways for both the engagement with and the renewal of moral imagination and culture. In this way, creativity is a practice of freedom.

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The Palgrave Handbook of Creativity and Culture Research

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