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Creativity ClassArt School and Culture Work in Postsocialist China$
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Lily Chumley

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691164977

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691164977.001.0001

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Masters of Culture?

(p.188) Conclusion
Creativity Class

Lily Chumley

Princeton University Press

This concluding chapter considers a question posed by Maxim Gorky in 1932: “On which side are you, ‘Masters of Culture’?” Examining the role of creative human capital in an urban service economy by analyzing a 2008 propaganda video titled “Reunion,” this chapter shows how the “creative class” is positioned intermediate to the socialist class categories of capital and labor. The culture workers who are supposed to transform the nation, the culture, and the economy with their innovative potential appear as labor to capital (in the person of the client or collector) and capital to labor (in the person of working-class service providers). Their professional activities can be framed as either authorial power or subaltern service, depending on context. This ambivalence demonstrates the antinomies of class in China's already postsocialist, but increasingly postindustrial, political economy.

Keywords:   China, political economy, creative human capital, urban service economy, Reunion, creative class, culture workers, antinomies of class

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