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date: 24 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Although psychologists typically see creativity as an individual-level event, sociologists and cultural anthropologists are more likely to view it as a sociocultural phenomenon. This phenomenon takes place at the level of relatively large and enduring collectives, such as cultures, nations, and even whole civilizations. This chapter reviews the extensive research on such macro-level creativity. The review begins with a historical overview before turning to the cross-sectional research on the creative Ortgeist, a subject that encompasses the factors that influence the relative creativity of both preliterate cultures and entire modern nations. From there the chapter turns to role of the Zeitgeist in affecting the creativity of civilizations across time—the rise and fall of creative activity. This research examines both quantitative and qualitative causes that operate both short- and long-term.

Keywords: creativity, genius, culture, nation, civilization, developmental effect, Ortgeist, Zeitgeist

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