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Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8782-834X

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Communication

Year Degree Awarded

2020

Month Degree Awarded

May

First Advisor

Donal Carbaugh

Second Advisor

Benjamin Bailey

Third Advisor

Jonathan Wynn

Subject Categories

Anthropological Linguistics and Sociolinguistics | Art Practice | Civic and Community Engagement | Contemporary Art | Critical and Cultural Studies | Discourse and Text Linguistics | Eastern European Studies | Epistemology | European Languages and Societies | Folklore | Indigenous Studies | International and Intercultural Communication | Language Interpretation and Translation | Linguistic Anthropology | Modern Art and Architecture | Other Arts and Humanities | Other Communication | Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures | Other Linguistics | Other Philosophy | Other Political Science | Other Social and Behavioral Sciences | Other Sociology | Philosophy of Language | Place and Environment | Politics and Social Change | Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies | Race and Ethnicity | Russian Linguistics | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Social Psychology and Interaction | Sociology of Culture | Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies | Speech and Rhetorical Studies | Theory and Criticism | Urban Studies | Urban Studies and Planning

Abstract

The main intellectual problem I address in this study is how everyday communication activates the relationship between creativity, conflict, and change. More specifically, I look at how the communication of creativity becomes a process of transformation, innovation, and change and how people are propelled to create through everyday communication practices in the face of conflict and opposition. To approach this problem, I use the case of communication in modern-day Belarus to show how creativity becomes a vehicle for and a source of new social and cultural routines among the independent grassroots communities and initiatives in Minsk.

On one level, I show how local research participants communicate six cultural identities through a cultural discourse when they speak about public creativity in Belarus. Additionally, I show how these categories of identity are structured as oppositional cultural codes, such as “State” vs. “People” or “Indifferent people” vs. “Talented, really creative people,” and how these discursive oppositions reflect a similar dynamic found in Ruthenian/Russian culture where the continuous interplay of opposing values has been a foundation of cultural unity throughout history.

On another level, I show how the participants of these grassroots communities problematize the existing ideas and practices of being a Belarusian and of being a citizen in general. The prevailing cultural myth suggests that Belarus, like many post-Soviet spaces, is inferior to the “progressive” “West” and the “USA.” However, this is not the way Belarus is symbolically constructed in the grassroots communities I studied. The Belarus they envision living within is a place of togetherness, of synergetic cooperation, and with the emergence of alternative mythology and everyday routines out of which cultural, business, and social innovations arise.

On yet another level, this research suggests that the process of creativity is, in its essence, a process of innovation, transformation, and change. I argue that such creative transformative processes in the society involve conflict, opposition, a struggle with everyday reality, out of which innovations come to life.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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