Tag: creative class

The New Office?

Many of us dread the office, even worse, the cubicle. Ironically, the cubicle was originally designed to foster human creativity, increase a new sense of success and vocational vitality. According to Nikil Saval, when Robert Propst created the cubicle in the 60s, he declared: “We are a nation of office dwellers. The face of capitalism had changed; the office had become a ‘thinking place’; ‘the real office consumer was the mind.'” Repetitive work was replaced by knowledge work and the cubicle was born to accommodate such work! By 2000, forty million American white-collar employees were using Propst’s “Action Office”–the cubicle.

Times have changed. Sure, there are still plenty of cubicles but in many cities they are steadily being replaced by coffee shops. Unlike the stifling effects of the cubicle, coffee shops and cafes can stimulate creativity . Caffeine, music, good food, other creative people, open-air workspace, people and culture swirling all around you. The new office is the mobile office, a land of open-air, ever alternating cubicles where creativity teems with the steam of each cappuccino. Richard Florida has argued for a next wave of work, seeing creativity, not knowledge, as new economic driver. He defines creativity as “the creation of useful new forms out of that knowledge,” and writes “in my formulation, ‘knowledge’ and ‘information’ are the tools and materials of creativity.

Are we in a creative age? Are cafes the new cubicles? If so, have we reached vocational utopia which all, non-creative work must only aspire to? Or is there a dark side to the new office, a danger in a creative-driven economy? One thing is for sure, firms and office managers are sending freelancers and employees to the cafes with a laugh. Who pays for the expenses? Coffee, internet, space, parking, food, air conditioning, drinks, power? A creative way to make a buck!

See Nikil Saval, “Birth of the Office,” n+1; Richard Florida, Rise of the Creative Class.

The Cultural Elite are No More!

A UK study claims that the cultural elite are no more, the kind of people who prefer high culture over pop culture: “We find little evidence for the existence of a cultural elite who would consume ‘high’ culture while shunning more ‘popular’ cultural forms.

This study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, included the US in its study dividing people into four groups: univores, omnivores, paucivores, and inactives.

  • Univores: only like popular culture
  • Omnivores: like everything from opera to soap opera
  • Paucivores: (taken from “paucity”?): absorb very little culture
  • Inactives: absorb practically none.

Researchers concluded that social status, from vocation, not social class, from wealth or birth, are more determinative for cultural taste and preference. They also concluded that cultural elitist are no more, that at most we are omnivores, a kind of cultural eclectic. You you agree? Which category would you claim, if any?

Top Books for 2007 (that I actually read)

Here is a sundry list of things I read that made a particular impression on me this year. They were not all published this year. They are not necessarily my favorites, and they include fiction, non-fiction, previously read, etc. In no particular order…


  1. Falling Man, Don DeLillo.
  2. Harrison Bergeron, Curt Vonnegut
  3. Central Themes in Biblical Theology, ed. Hafemann & House
  4. Seeing Through Cynicism, Dick Keyes
  5. Total Church, Chester & Timmis
  6. Paul: A Fresh Perspective, N. T. Wright
  7. n + 1. a twice-yearly print journal of politics, literature, and culture.
  8. How Children Raise Parents, Dan Allender.
  9. The Moral Vision of the New Testament, Richard Hays
  10. Disciples of All Nations, Lamin Sanneh


  1. Converts or Proselytes?: The Crisis Over Conversion in the Early Church,” Andrew Walls IBMR 28
  2. “Anaesthetic Ideology,” Mark Greif n+1 vol. 5
  3. Things I Wish I Had Known When I Planted My Church,” Next Wave