Public Event at the ZiF - Lecture

Smuggling ‘Creativity' in the Meritocracy of Global ‘Talentism'

Date: 12 July 2022, 17:30 - 18:30
Location: Online, via Zoom
David Kyle (San Diego, USA)

In the context of the workshop "Moving in a divided world – Transnational crime, national borders and irregular migration"

In 2014, Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum at Davos, announced that, given the centrality of ‘creativity’ as a driver of economic and technological advance and profit, “talents are more important than capital, talentism is replacing capitalism." This talk problematizes the uses and abuses of ‘creativity’ in grand narratives of progress and success for all, and especially how they are unevenly applied to the facilitation, brokering, and, at times, coercion of migrants, refugees, and trafficking victims and creativity as a variable status of 'the mobility.' I provide the context for understanding historical forms of talentism as intimately connected to the racism and sexism that shaped colonial movements of people, Cold War meritocracies that elevated talentism to a science that continues to shape migration research and policy, and the invention of “scientific creativity” specifically by and for institutional meritocracies of talentism. With this context, we may better understand the cultural logic of political narratives of creativity weaponized for the managerial control of labor mobility and the gatekeeping of opportunities more generally, while reconstructing the foundations for a new 21st Century winner-take-all version of a religion of genius super humans—who now feel they’ve earned it. I end on the implications of all of this for mobility studies in a divided world.

Participation is only possible via Zoom. Link to the livestream:

Please direct questions concerning the talk to: Trixi Valentin at the Conference Office.
Tel: +49 521 106-2769
Fax: +49 521 106-152769