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Towards „creafit society“ – the analysis of the developmental potentials of Croatian society on the example of Krapina-zagorje county


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Žažar, Krešimir. (2014). Towards „creafit society“ – the analysis of the developmental potentials of Croatian society on the example of Krapina-zagorje county. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Sociology. [mentor Afrić, Vjekoslav].

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The point of the departure, what has been stressed in the introductory section(Introduction), of this work has been an assertion about the lack of an adequate theoretical approach which would represent an appropriate analytical tool for an examination of contemporary societies. Yet existing concepts are partial, directed for an explanation of narrow segments of social reality and they provide only a fragmented depiction of a contemporary society. Moreover, these concepts suffer from certain reductionisms. The lack of coherence and solid empirical foundation are their further drawbacks. In addition, at the terminological level various concepts often interfere what generate accessory vagueness and confusion. Having in mind its denoted traits, we express the assessment that the contemporary sociological theory has not been capable of providing insights into the crucial attributes of current social universe and proper explanation of societies nowadays. Since the depicted situation of the contemporary sociological theory we find intensely unfavourable, as the main aim of this work we impose the development of a conceptual tool that would overcome the denoted flaws. With an intention of avoiding the pitfall of a possible dispersion of overwhelmingly broad thematic framework of numerous theoretical approaches of contemporary sociological theory, we have decided to define a precise point of entrance in an overview of basic attributes of theories which examine current societies. Due to its relevance and popularity in recent decades, our choice has been to scrutinize the theoretical discourse on an emergence of knowledge societies. Thus in the second chapter (Theoretical Articulations of Contemporary Societies as Knowledge Societies) we have inquired the attributes of theses which claim that contemporary societies have become constituted as knowledge societies. As there is a vast number of different assumptions on knowledge societies, due to a smoother analysis we have classified them within 3 distinguished categories: 1) “classical” sociological approach; 2) approach of knowledge economy and 3) concept of academic entrepreneurship. Under the first group we have quite extensively scrutinized the theses of Bell, Touraine, Toffler, Drucker, Stehr, Castells and Lyotard, the authors whose theoretical positions in certain sense has been shaped under the influence of the wider theoretical framework of post-industrialism. Notwithstanding the particular differences and distinct terminological articulations of a contemporary society, we have been highlighted that their positions have been rooted in a series of affine or even identical assumptions. We have specified them as well as we have underlined drawbacks of these approaches that appear as: technological reductionism, insufficient conceptual perspicuity, lack of an adequate level of analytical rigidity, lack of solid empirical foundation and a certain dose of ideology for which these approaches have been credited. Even though their certain heuristic relevance and analytical value cannot be neglected, owing to denoted drawbacks, the “classical” sociological approaches could neither provide adequate, precise, coherent and consistent concept of a knowledge society, nor could they be considered as adequate tools proper for an analysis of a reality of contemporary societies. Knowledge economy has been disputed in twofold sense: 1) as a distinctive economic system and 2) as a specific subfield of economics as a scientific discipline. A considerable emphasis has been placed on paucities of knowledge economy that has been primarily detected in a certain economic reductionism, i.e. ignoring the importance of social factors that have an impact on economic processes, and an excessive emphasis on (only) scientifically produced knowledge while at the same time the potentials for economic utilization of other forms of knowledge and creative expression have been omitted from the analytical view of this approach. The concept of academic entrepreneurship, we have argued, could be interpreted as a specific variant of knowledge economy. In narrower sense, the approaches disputed within this category of knowledge society discourse represent certain operative models which indicate modalities according to which particular normative assumptions of knowledge economy/society could be transferred in practical social processes. We have scrutinized attributes of the following 3 such models: triple helix model, the thesis of an emergence of the third generation universities and the model of new production of knowledge. In the critical overview of these approaches, we have concluded that, as they represent the variety of knowledge economy, they also take over the identical drawbacks. In the third chapter (The Concept of Creative Economy) the concept of creative economy has been examined and we found it broader in comparison with the concept of knowledge economy. While the latter has a narrower focus because it has been directed to examination of economic utilization of mainly scientific knowledge, creative economy includes a whole range of creative activities which could lead to creative products that could be objects of economic transactions. In such conceptualization, knowledge represents only one element in a wide spectrum of creativity. In addition, through analytical lens of creative economy creativity (not knowledge) has been seen as a principally unlimited resource of crucial economic and overall social relevance. Though the discussions of creative economy discourse have been mainly situated within the framework of economic issues, the authors of this conceptual field also dispute certain elements of wider social environment within which processes of creative economy occur. In this chapter we have extracted 3 topics that can be found in the creative economy literature we consider of immense sociological interest: 1) the assumption about the restructuring of stratification principles of a society due to the emergence of creative class; 2) the analysis of the spatial and social attributes of social surroundings favourable for a development of the creative economy and 3) the debate about the inclusive potential of this type of economy. The debate on various aspects of the mentioned issues has been tackled within the chapter. Although the authors engaged with the creative economy matters have not developed a coherent sociological theory, in their works can be found a myriad of sociologically interesting and relevant thesis appropriate for an explanation of current social reality. We have ended this section of the work with an exposed statement. In the next chapter (The Basic Contours of the Conceptual Schema “Creafit Society”) we have introduced and have attentively elaborated the authentic conceptual schema, an endeavour we have imposed as a crucial task of this work. In the first line this schema should be conceived as a valuable heuristic tool advisable for an adequate understanding of contemporary societies. Since this certain ideal type construct aims to analytically grasp the totality of social life, it encompasses 6 particular dimensions that correspond to the 6 fundamental fields of society. According to our understanding, a totality of society can be distinguished within the 6 realms what has been reflected in the following 6 dimensions incorporated within our conceptual schema: socio-economic, socio-demographic, socio-technological, socio-cultural, socio-political and socio-ecological. Each of the denoted dimensions contains a set of components i.e. several theoretical propositions which indicate the attributes of theoretically assumed type of society proposed by our conceptual schema. It is important to underline that theoretical propositions have not been induced empirically, but have been extracted from the different theoretical approaches that were examined in the two previous chapters. Taken together, these propositions depict the attributes of a theoretically assumed type of society and articulate its definition. The assumed type of society, as well as the conceptual schema that describes it, has been denominated as “creafit society”. It is an authentic term, a neologism we have introduced in this work. The expression “creafit”, it has been explained, is coined of words creativity and profit. While the latter signifies the continuity of contemporary society in relation to modern capitalistic society, the first notion highlights creativity as the axial determinant of current social reality. After the precise clarification of the meaning of the concept of “creafit society”, in the last section of the fourth chapter we underline the analytical potential of our conceptual schema. The conceptual schema “creafit society” is not only the heuristically vigorous theoretical instrument convenient for the theoretical envisions of current societies, but it is highly utilizable for concrete empirical researches of a particular social environment. With this contention we ended the first, primarily theoretical, part (The Overview and Critical Valorization of Theoretical Approaches Directed to the Examination of Key Attributes of Contemporary Societies) of this work. The applicability of the developed conceptual schema “creafit society” has been demonstrated in the second part (The Case Study: The Application of the Conceptual Schema “Creafit Society” at the Analysis of Developmental Issues of Krapina-Zagorje County) of the work. Here, in this particular chapter (The Analysis of Developmental Perspectives of Krapina- Zagorje County), we have discussed the issues of development of Croatian society on the example of Krapina-Zagorje County. The basic premise of our empirical research has been rooted on an assumption that the conceptual schema “creafit society” represents a certain model of development. Since this conceptual schema is an ideal type construct, it can be also conceived as a certain measurement device that can allow an estimation of a degree in which singular theoretically assumed attributes of “creafit society” has been empirically present within a specific social environment, in this case Krapina-Zagorje County. Thus the topic of development of this Croatian micro region has been situated within a theoretical framework of “creafit society”. Our basic objective has been to ascertain whether this micro region in particular components of 4 envisaged dimensions (socio-demographic, socio-economic, socio-technological, socioecological) exhibit the attributes of “creafit society”. An analysis of secondary data as well as an analysis of several strategic documents has been the methodological procedure implemented in order to accomplish our research task. Besides, insights in developmental circumstances of the Krapina-Zagorje County have been broadened due to conducted series of semi-structured interviews. The sample (N=18) has been purposive and it has included the actors directly involved in developmental processes of the County i.e. people who have appreciable insights in developmental trajectories of the region. Even though certain elements of “creafit society” can be found within a socio-ecological and socio-technological dimension of society, the County cannot be depicted in terms of “creafit society”. The findings of our research have implied the conclusion that Krapina-Zagorje County can be considered, despite the intensive deindustrialization after 1990, as primarily industrial region. Our research has also shown that the County has been currently seeking for a clear socio-economic profile since in strategic documents and in interviews it has often been emphasized the requirement for a profound development of tourism that ought to be intimately attached to the production of ecological healthy domestic food. In addition to the two denoted economic branches, our respondents have also highlighted the profound importance of maintaining yet existing successful industries. A possible developmental shift towards “creafit” type of society has not even been recognized as eventual developmental scenario. However, in our critical remarks we have excerpted that such option principally does exist, but the austere obstacle to it represent an exceptionally unfavorable sociodemographic structure mark by intensive ageing and emigration of younger and educated population. The additional barrier to orientation towards “creafit society” lies in a lack of awareness that the key of growth are creative potentials of people. In the final part (The Concluding Considerations) 3 basic contributions of this work have been underlined: 1) the elaboration of the authentic conceptual schema eligible for the examination of contemporary societies; 2) the introduction of the term “creafit society” which more appropriately articulates the fundamental attributes of the contemporary social reality; 3) the gained insights in empirical state of affair of the singular micro region that reflect the particular characteristics of a developmental process of Croatian society. In the end we have anticipated the following steps that await us in further work and elaboration of the conceptual schema “creafit society”: 1) development of the system of concrete empirical indicators; 2) development of the index of “creafitness”; 3) categorization of “creafit society” and 4) development of theoretical model of “creafit society”. Having in mind these denoted tasks, we have emphasized that the endeavor conducted in this work ought to be conceived as an initial stage of a wider program of the development of the idea of “creafit society”.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: post-industrial society, knowledge society, creative economy, conceptual schema, “creafit society”, development, Krapina-Zagorje County
Subjects: Sociology
Departments: Department of Sociology
Supervisor: Afrić, Vjekoslav
Date Deposited: 13 May 2015 11:25
Last Modified: 13 May 2015 11:25

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