Craft and the Artisanal

Co-ordinators: Jennifer Smith Maguire and Emma-Jayne Abbots

The ‘Craft and Artisanal’ cluster is focused on the production, consumption and representation of artisanal drinks, such as microbrew beer, biodynamic wine, craft cider and small-batch spirits. Such goods are commonly associated with small-scale production, traditional techniques, skilled craftsmanship and discerning consumer palates. As such, they purport to offer experiences and qualities that differ markedly from the mass-produced, industrial-scale drinks to which they are frequently diametrically opposed. Craft and artisanal drinks, then, are often embedded in discourses relating to authenticity, provenance and locality, from the scale of the individual (in pursuit of a ‘real’ cider or ale) to that of the region or nation (for which territorially-linked craft goods generate value).

Research within the cluster is likely to focus on:

  • Identity, taste and ethics—for producers, intermediaries, consumers
  • Authenticity and its commodification
  • The experience of artisanal labour
  • Regulation and representation of terroir and provenance
  • Sustainability, the environment and ecologies
  • The mobilisation of heritage, material culture and ‘the past’
  • Economic value and the creation of markets
  • The production and mediation of craft and artisanal knowledge

Bios of coordinators:

Jennifer Smith Maguire (jbs7@le.ac.uk) is Senior Lecturer of Cultural Production and Consumption in the School of Management, University of Leicester. Her research examines the construction of markets, tastes and value, with special focus on wine and beer markets and the role of cultural intermediaries in the construction of provenance and authenticity.

Emma-Jayne Abbots (e.abbots@uwtsd.ac.uk) is Senior Lecturer in Anthropology and Heritage at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Her research centres on the cultural politics of craft cider and the visceral practices of its production and consumption. She is broadly concerned with the human and non-human material engagements of drink, the (re)production and mediation of knowledge, and the political and environmental ecologies in which crafting is valued and performed.

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