Time, creativity and culture: introducing Bergson

Linstead, Stephen and Mullarkey, John (2003) Time, creativity and culture: introducing Bergson. Culture & Organization, 9(1), pp. 3-13. ISSN (print) 1475-9551


In this paper we introduce Bergson's philosophy of "action, process and movement" and its relevance for social science and the study of organizational culture. Bergson's philosophy of change argues against the spatialisation of thought in which phenomena are broken down into discrete components to be numbered, sequenced and manipulated: rather he argues for a view of time as qualitative; intuition as situated within experience rather than about it; the importance of the body in social experience and the importance of morality and religion in social life - in short and embodied conception of culture. Bergson's culture is socialised time actualised in experienced duration or durée - culture is always in motion, and does not need culture clash to drive change, but cultural expression and formulations are not, which runs counter to functionalist and psychoanalytic views of culture. Creativity, or the élan vital , is the human impulse to organise, but to improvise rather than to locate, di

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