Home Institution

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Publication Date

Fall 2016

Program Name

Jordan: Modernization and Social Change


This case study addresses a gap in the research on society and culture as it examines the relationship between social action through human creativity and positive societal change in Jordan. This relationship was studied through the following methods: six formal interviews with three Musicians, one Artist, one Organizational Behavior and Work Psychologist, and one Cognition and Didactics Researcher; one informal interview with a Jordanian taxi driver; and 30 oral surveys provided to students at The University of Jordan. The researcher’s main goal was to investigate how human creativity expressed through music and the arts can address current pressing environmental and social issues in Jordan such as the waste crisis, climate change, and weaknesses in ideological political systems. Additionally, the researcher aspired to investigate what drives human creativity, and how human creativity can be accessed in the most productive fashion to utilize it and positively influence society in Jordan. The researcher found that music is a powerful tool that can be utilized in many settings – including protests in the streets, concert halls, or music videos on the internet – to communicate important messages to the general population for the purpose of educating them about a specific societal issue, provoking an emotional response within them, and/or mobilizing them to take action for a cause. In addition, music about the elections and political action can not only inspire some Jordanian citizens to vote, but also encourage them to vote for a political candidate who will help improve and benefit society. Recycled art can positively impact the environment in significant ways through the reduction of waste and decrease in demand for the creation of new materials, which requires energy. In addition, recycled art encourage an ecofriendly relationship with the environment by introducing different perspectives and techniques of dealing with waste. Cultural workers – such as artists and musicians – begin harnessing their creativity to improve society when they think that society members are susceptible to change. In addition, flow states can promote an optimal state of consciousness that allows one to channel his or her creative endeavors into positive societal change. Lastly, the researcher found that economic instabilities act as gatekeepers between cultural workers and affecting positive societal change, as these instabilities do not provide cultural workers with the opportunity to choose between satisfying elementary needs, such as food and shelter, and higher needs, such as practicing environmental sustainability. The conclusions of this case study establish some solutions to the pressing environmental and social issues in Jordan, thereby advancing science in the field of society and culture. To promote the prosperity of a just and thriving country, these findings may be applied to various aspects of daily life in Jordan. The majority of interviewees in this case study concurred that passing on such tools to the youth would prove an effective place to begin planting the seeds for positive societal change.


Civic and Community Engagement | Environmental Studies | Fine Arts | Music | Near and Middle Eastern Studies | Politics and Social Change | Social Psychology


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