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Revista de Administração de Empresas

Print version ISSN 0034-7590On-line version ISSN 2178-938X

Rev. adm. empres. vol.56 no.3 São Paulo May./June 2016 



Caio Bianchi1 

Carlota Carneiro2 

Ilan Avrichir3 

1PhD student in International Management from Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing – São Paulo – SP, Brazil.

2M.Sc. in International Management from Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing – São Paulo – SP, Brazil.

3Professor at Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing, Núcleo de Estudos em Gestão Internacional – São Paulo – SP, Brazil.

Hartley, John; Potts, Jason; Cunningham, Stuart; Flew, Terry; Keane, Michael; Banks, John. KEY CONCEPTS IN CREATIVE INDUSTRIES. London: SAGE, 2013. 200pp.

The book primarily aims to offer a roadmap to the most relevant concepts in the growing field of creative industries. Although its title suggests that the reader will find definitions of concepts, the book actually focuses on the concepts’ origins and tries to link each concept with creative industries. The authors chose not to focus on permanent definitions of the concepts since, in their view, such definitions are utopic and mostly derived from a research area that has only just begun to develop.

Considering the book’s goal, its introduction is well written and tells the reader what type of book it is. The book rejects a positivist approach to creative industries and highlights the relevance of interpretativism as a philosophical approach combined with a range of disciplines that can contribute to form concepts. The introduction also makes it clear that the book is not intended to create concept definitions, however relevant they may be to science itself.

The authors also give an example of the variety of definitions a concept can have and how these definitions can change over time and within different domains of knowledge. The example they give is the definition of culture. According to positivist behavioral science, culture is a cluster of beliefs and values inquired by experiment, whereas according to complexity science, culture is the co-evolution of game ensembles inquired by computational modeling.

One important aspect the book emphasizes is how creative industries are being structured into a domain of knowledge among several universities in Australia, China, Brazil, and Indonesia, particularly at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). QUT founded the world’s first Creative Industries Faculty in 2001, under guidance of John Hartley. So far, the school has had the contributions of Jason Potts, Stuart Cunningham, Terry Flew, Michael Keane, and John Banks.

Although the theory discussed over the chapters deals mostly with concepts related to creative industries, one cannot fail to notice two major theories that also play an important role in the book. Firstly, there are concepts of economic theory, such as market failures and transaction costs, which are presented in several chapters. This can be explained by the newness of creative industries, which are still in the making and may therefore need the support of additional theories.

Secondly, in most chapters, the reader will notice terms related with Institutional Theory, such as policies and policymakers. This is because creative industry is formed by sectors that are strategic for both image promotion and the preservation and dissemination of a nation’s culture, causing those sectors to be highly regulated and protected by governments.

The first thing that will draw the attention of researchers and students of creative industries is the authors’ background. Each of the six authors is an exponent in the field of creative industries and responsible for creating or developing several concepts such as creative class, creative industries and creative clusters. In other words, creative industries researchers are likely to be familiar to some extent with these authors’ seminal papers and research.

The idea of gathering relevant concepts is capital to the research of creative industries as an emerging knowledge domain. For this reason, the book can be useful for researchers who are eager to understand the changes that cultural, sociological and economic concepts undergo when applied to creative industries. On the other hand, this shift in the perception of some concepts may be confusing for people who are not familiar with creative industries or academic reading, particularly due to the weight of sociology and anthropology in the authors’ approach.

After finishing the book, we feel that the authors strove to incorporate concepts from other disciplines into creative industries. Certain concepts, albeit important, were forced to fit creative industries by means of extensive paragraphs and several definitions from other authors while lacking a straightforward connection with the book as a whole. For example, in the chapter on evolution, the authors clearly and objectively present the theory but fail to ever show any applications directly related with creative industries.

Other concepts are successfully applied, their links to creative industries being well demonstrated. In the chapter on audience, for example, the authors clearly present how concepts such as client, supply and demand can have different meanings when analyzed from the perspective of creative industries. The same can be said about the chapter on networks.

The book is divided in 42 concepts, each covered in approximately four pages, in addition to the introduction, references and index. The concepts vary from those taken from other disciplines, such as aesthetics, cluster, complex systems, and entrepreneur/entrepreneurship, to those specific to creative industries, such as creative cities, creative economy, and creative class. As to the history of concepts, the book covers mostly cultural, sociological, economic and philosophical perspectives, with no adequate emphasis on business.

There are several problems with the book. Although it has plenty of references for further reading on specific concepts, the all-too-frequent appearances of Wikipedia as reference render the contents less credible. Science is built by continuing previously published, recognized works on a subject, and Wikipedia does not meet those criteria.

Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, clearly discourages high school and academic usage of Wikipedia material because of its free editing characteristics. This and the characteristics of science itself should suffice to explain why the use of Wikipedia is rejected in working papers, books by respected authors, and books published by a well-known company such as Sage Publications.

The book is therefore useful for researchers of creative industries to understand the paradigms and premises behind some of creative industries’ most relevant concepts. Yet, if the reader is expecting positivist, conclusive definitions of those concepts, there will be disappointment. Although the absence of conclusive definitions is a drawback in the book, the literature on the subject is recent, so there is a shortage of such definitions in the literature in general. Altogether, the book succeeds in presenting the most relevant concepts about creative industries as a knowledge domain, as well as information on the origin of terms and how they have been changed to fit the creative background. If the reader is expecting to understand the origin of the concepts, their link to creative industries, and how creative industries are related with different domains of knowledge such as economics, IT and philosophy, this is a useful, pleasant and rewarding book.

Creative Commons License This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.