Accepted Paper:

INDUSTRY AS A NEW PLACE FOR CRAFT: Contributions of an ethnography of the shoe industry in Portugal  

Paper short abstract:

With the rising flow of heritage values in the field of production and consumption, some traditional industrial production hubs have undertaken a restructuring based on the revival of artisanal models. How will factories today be places of preservation, transmission and apprenticeship of craft?

Paper long abstract:

As a paradigm of modernity, industry is generally associated with principles of mass production. However, today, due to a production restructuring and global markets, some traditional industrial production hubs at risk have responded by reviving models of artisanal production.

Based on a PhD in Anthropology research, this paper aims to focus on the Portuguese shoe industry and the way it has been restructured based on the principles of culturalization of the economy and the aesthetic production method that defines capitalism today.

Fundamentally based on small companies and an endogenous production system as a way of survival and adaptation, the Portuguese shoe sector has carried out a production restructuring centred on small scale production with a focus on design and handcraft, aimed at the luxury export market.

Craft being a mode of production with a future, like the panel suggests, one aims to reflect on the way industries today resort to the rhetoric of patrimonialisation and the cosmopolitan hierarchy of value associated with craft as a marketing strategy, but also as a strategy to value industrial work, as a way of recruiting new employees, in a sector characterized by a weak social image.

Beyond to the companies' speeches, one aims to look at the practices of transmission of craft knowledge and skills in industrial mediums; the effect of this restructuring in factory workers' everyday life and work hierarchies marked by Fordism principles; and also the apprenticeship of new workers who no longer possess a tradecraft passed on from generation to generation.

Panel P068
The Future of Craft: Apprenticeship, Transmission and Heritage