Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Paula Chakravartty

Second Advisor

Briankle Chang

Third Advisor

Martha Fuentes-Bautista

Fourth Advisor

Piper Gaubatz

Subject Categories

Critical and Cultural Studies | Human Geography | Japanese Studies | Korean Studies | Other Film and Media Studies | Urban Studies and Planning


By investigating institutional and cultural practices as well as the consequences of the creative industry-led development policy in Yokohama, Japan and Seoul, South Korea, this dissertation critically reexamines the key rationales of creative economy-driven urban development and considers social costs and tensions between the state, capital and citizens that are embedded within creative city policy discourses and practices.

This dissertation intervenes in the conventional understandings, which consider the influx of neoliberalism as the key to explain the rapid global circulation of creative city policy, typically based on cities in the West. By considering the policy transfer as endless processes of “translation” from the viewpoint of Actor-Network Theory, rather than a linear replication process, it shows that specific institutional and cultural practices—such as the historical legacy of the East Asian developmental state and its relation to capital and civic society—are necessary not only for properly locating the meaning of neoliberalism but also for evaluating the complexity of neoliberal political projects in East Asia. By conceptualizing creative city policy as "new urban governmental techniques", it argues that the creative cities of Japan and Korea are test sites not only for neoliberal creative economy but also for new forms of governing and being governed with significant implications for fostering certain types of subjectivities such as "creative citizen" and "creative labor". Under this framework, ultimately this dissertation contributes to re-orient the current debates on the global creative city policy from a question of “How can we develop effective creative city policy?” implemented by urban planners, capitals and state officials to that of “How can we invent and share creative city politics?” raised by creative workers, activists and citizens.