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Paper short abstract:
This paper, by drawing on different cases of defunct and working shipyards, looks at what cranes facilitate: at inoperative shipyard sites in Sweden, they are aesthetic elements and reminders of past glories, while inside functioning yards in Korea, they have on occasion become sites of resistance.
Paper long abstract:
De-industrialization, amidst the hectic calculations made about property that is being freed up for new projects, often simultaneously begets the flourishing of a particular kind of "industrial style"; that is, a curious recent trend in architecture and design that incorporates (and thereby re-commoditizes) factory remnants, industrial rubble and infrastructural elements into items of new aesthetic worth. In Europe and elsewhere, industrial spaces adjacent to the sea, such as old shipyards, are exceptionally attractive to urban developers: In such a fashion, abandoned shipping containers are now meant to inspire creative types, corroded steel becomes an appealing sight for start-up folks, and cranes are turned into defining features of a landscape now valued as "interesting" by those with plenty of money in their pockets. This paper, by juxtaposing different cases of value-making at both functioning and defunct shipyards in Europe and Asia, looks at the relational work facilitated by cranes in these different settings: at inoperative shipyard sites in Sweden, for istance, cranes can be a nostalgic reminder of past glories, and their disappearance is on occasion mourned, while at functioning yards in South Korea, shipbuilding cranes have sometimes been magnified into sites of resistance for the working populations around it. Zooming in on the Kockums Crane, which in the early 2000s made its way from Malmo, Sweden to Ulsan, South Korea after a rush-sale, I will explore the various economic and symbolic conversions a crane can undergo once it starts to move.
Sea Economies: Labour, Infrastructure and New Techno-Environmental Horizons