P08
The aesthetics of craft: explorations in the anthropology of craft production

Convenors:
Stephanie Bunn (University of St Andrews)
Ravi Shankar Mishra (Indian Institute of Technology Delhi)
Location:
SSS-I Committee Room, Ground Floor
Start time:
5 April, 2012 at 8:30
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

"Do craft have aesthetics?" This panel examines the relationship between the body, material, idea and object in the production of craft and domestic artefacts. Anthropological insights will help us to know the aesthetics of craft that emerge from peoples' engagement with these agencies.

Long abstract:

"Do craft have aesthetics?" Through exploring this question this panel examines the relationships between the body, material, idea and object in the production of craft and domestic artefacts. This requires an exploration of the relationship between art and craft, between ideas and bodily practices and the social relationships involved in 'hand-making' and other kinds of artefacts. The panel will address the interplay of material and cognitive operations in production processes, and how these emerge through peoples' involvement with the various social and cultural agencies that constitute community dynamics. These are environment, religion, folk culture, tools and technology etc; community networks and communities of practice; interventions by government and non-government organizations; and local and global markets. Globalization, modernization and commoditization affect production of crafts in significant ways, and aesthetics of craft manifest in a variety of social and cultural experiences, thereby contributing to understand these processes in turn. How social and cultural transformation, such as those experienced during current globalization, may impact upon craft aesthetics? How this in-turn may affect or constitute the making and unmaking of communities? An aesthetic of craft may thus be constitutive of its own moral and political economy of 'preservation', promotion and sustenance, and have significance for core anthropological concerns, such as the relationships between production and consumption, local distinctiveness and homogenization, continuity and change. Anthropological insights will help us to know the aesthetics of craft through the above mentioned agencies that constitute the larger social world of craftsmen, anthropologists, craft-activists, and connoisseurs cum consumers.