Mehdi Arfaoui (EHESS, Paris)



Mehdi Arfaoui writes a PhD thesis under the supervision of Eve Chiapello at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS). While his main research interest resides in the metamorphosis of capitalism, his recent works attempt to more specifically explain the proliferation of policies and discourses built around the notion of “creativity”.

In January 2016, Mehdi Arfaoui has published, in the academic journal Communication, a two-year study titled “Co-creation as a dispositif”.



In 2013, by mean of the Creative Europe program, the notion of “creativity” is put at the center of the European Union’s strategy. The objective of the Creative Europe program (replacing both previous Culture and MEDIA programs) is to make creativity the key for growth and competitiveness: it prompted the update of several instruments – production grants, investment warranties, workshops, etc. – in order to incite cultural “operators” to take more financial responsibilities, adapt to the economic situation and incorporate the “digital context”.

Taking the opportunity of our multileveled field work, the thesis demonstrates that the institutionalization of the idea of a “creative organization” – supposedly more flexible, cross-sectoral, and more independent from public subsidies – occurs with the production of standards of evaluation and norms of creativity, as well as with a modification of practices and forms of action in cultural activities.

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