The promises of talent: performing potentiality

Julie Sommerlund, Sara Malou Strandvad

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In this paper we address the question of talent from a performative perspective. Instead of entering the discussion about whether talent should be considered an individual or a social construction, we suggest looking into how talents are performed. Inspired by the sociology of expectations, we explore when talents are made and what effects they have. Based on studies of Danish film directors
and designers, our research suggests that talent is constituted during three processes: identification, self-technology, and materialization. Identification is when others locate potentiality in the individual. Self-technology describes the work which the individual carries out to cultivate his or her talent. Materialization refers to the objects that manifest the talent and the necessity of enrolling other participants to create these objects
Original languageEnglish
JournalTheory & Psychology
Pages (from-to)179-195
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • creativity

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