Compulsive Creativity: Virtual Worlds, Disability, and Digital Capital

Donna Z. Davis, Tom Boellstorff


In this article, we analyze the intersection of creativity and agency by examining what might appear to be a very different intersection: disability and the digital. We do this by exploring what we term “compulsive creativity” as experienced by persons living with Parkinson’s disease who are active in the virtual world Second Life. To address forms of social and cultural capital, we introduce the notions of “digital embodied states” and “digital objectified states.” In doing so, we suggest ways that compulsive creativity speaks to questions of cultural capital in the context of disability online and emerging creative economies.


creativity, digital culture, disability, ethnography, virtual worlds, social capital

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