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‘N-gauging’ geographies: craft consumption, indoor leisure and model railways

Hobbies and crafts have been neglected by geographers concerned with leisure activities. Drawing upon a study of model railway layouts, we use Campbell’s concept of the craft consumer to re-focus attention on the geographies of indoor leisure (Campbell 2005 The craft consumer: culture, craft and consumption in a postmodern society Journal of Consumer Culture 5 23–42).We argue that spatialities of hobby activities contribute to identity formation, consumption practices and lifestyles. The idea of the craft consumer is assessed and further directions signposted for the study of hobbies by geographers.

This research is available online from the ‘prestigious’ journal, Area


 

Becoming skilled: The cultural and corporeal geographies of teaching and learning Thai Yoga massage

This paper explores the process of learning an embodied knowledge using the work of Dreyfus and Deleuze. Although geographers have begun to acknowledge the role of embodied knowledges in social life, there have been few in-depth case studies of how these skills are learned. This paper offers a case study of Thai Yoga massage (TYM), a ‘complementary and alternative therapy’ which is growing in popularity in the United Kingdom. Having outlined the case study, the paper explores the cultural geographies of the formalisation, documentation and contestation of the set of techniques that have come to cohere in the UK as TYM. The paper then interrogates the messy corporeal geographies of learning a skill, and briefly considers how more advanced practitioners experience their skilled practice.

This paper can be found online at the ‘prestigious’ journal, GeoForum

 

Inextinguishable fibres: demolition and the vital materialisms of asbestos

This paper forwards a performative reading of asbestos in economies of disposal. It argues that materials need to be thought through transformative states, not just stable states, and that materials’ performativity varies according to material states. As a radical intervention in form, demolition is one such transformative state, which disturbs and animates materials. Relatively unconsidered in the academic literature, demolition is argued to be the means to an endless source of surprise in the built environment as well as a singular and multiple practice entailing the dissolution of form, the purposeful reduction and dismantling of large-scale objects, salvage and remediation work, and a host of micropractices, including cutting, tearing, sorting, and separating. The paper illustrates asbestos’ interventions in demolition activities, using as its exemplar the case of ship breaking in the EU. More broadly, the paper works with asbestos to show that material properties are not fixed but processual, relational, and distributed. The paper also flags some key questions for the emergent debate on vital materialisms, highlighting the difficulties materials like asbestos pose for thinking through enchantment and generosity; the importance of thinking a vital materialism through remediation as well as salvage; and the need to extend an ethics founded on generosity to encompass respect, humility, responsibility, and surprise towards those materials that most threaten human life.

Available online from the ‘prestigious’ journal, Environmental and Planning A

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