Imagination: Creating alternatives in everyday life

Tania Zittoun & Alex Gillespie

Résumé In this chapter we present an integrative sociocultural model of imagination. From this perspective, imagination can be seen as a psychological process of temporary “uncoupling” from the ongoing, here-and-now, socially shared world. Although imagination is often private, it is deeply social and cultural in its nature, content and outcomes. We will first identify some of the conditions which lead the mind disengage from the immediacy of action and become absorbed in reverie. These conditions include when the socially shared world becomes dull (leading to boredom), when there is anxiety about the future, and when the social world becomes overwhelming, for example with major uncertainty. We then examine imagination as a psychological process. We show how it is nourished with a wide range of social and personal experiences, images, representations, which becomes the “stuff” that populates imagination. Finally, we examine the outcomes of imagination: eventually, as the person “recouples” with the ongoing socially shared reality, the outcomes of the imagination feed into understanding and action, potentially informing the trajectory of individuals or groups. In some cases, imagination can lead to surprising and unpredictable outcomes, which may be acknowledged or rejected by society, and thus, we argue, imagination feeds into creativity and even innovation. We highlight these dynamics and their variation along a series of analytical dimensions which conceptualize a wide range of phenomena; doing so, leads us to distinguish imagination and creativity and also show the benefits of linking these two concepts together.
Mots-clés imagination; creativity; trajectories; lifecourse; cultural psychology
Citation Zittoun, T., & Gillespie, A. (2016). Imagination: Creating alternatives in everyday life. In V. P. Glăveanu (Ed.) The Palgrave handbook of creativity and culture research. (pp. 225-242). London and New York: Palgrave.
Type Chapitre de livre (Anglais)
Année 2016
Editeur Vlad Petre Glăveanu
Titre du livre The Palgrave handbook of creativity and culture research
Editeur commercial Palgrave (London and New York)
Pages 225-242
Liée au projet Imagination