Uppsala University, Department of Social and Economic Geography
Monograph, 326 p.
The question of creativity has persisted throughout the entire history of humans, and it has held an important role in our understanding of the creation of places and cultures. Despite the fact that craftsmen have historically contributed significantly to the creation of urban landscapes and their cultures, today they are marginalized from the prevailing discourses of creativity and place-making. Using this research gap as a point of departure, the present study explores not only who the craftsmen are and what creativity means in the craftsmen’s realm but also what visions on human reality their perspectives conjure. Drawing on socio-spatial and poetic considerations as well as on the contemporary narratives of three traditional crafts across Europe—stonemasonry, boat-building and glassmaking—through a dialogical approach and with the understanding of writing as a way of knowing, this study brings into focus the relationship between the Western world today and its foundations, where the craftsman’s understanding of creation originates.
To further explore these foundations, this study locates two closely related but discrete worldviews: Plato’s urbanology and cartographic reasoning and Anaximander’s cosmology and the labyrinth. These two philosophical perspectives make the conceptualization of craftsmen’s perspectives possible but also answer why, when and how craftsmen became disassociated from the creativity discourses, as the authors of their works. Moreover, the study argues that the differences between these two perspectives have implications on understanding not only what the original, a model, a copy is but also highlight in which ways these perspectives promote different kinds of place-making and visions of human reality, where cities are not only products of capital.
This study can thus be read as the quest for the re-discovery of the craftsman’s perspective. The study concludes that this is the quest for understanding the language capable of expressing the nature of things that are fundamental to the human experience and the understanding of the world in which humans discovered they can be both the subject and an author.