Elena Freire Paz
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The recuperation of Galician pottery
Craft professions, cultural policies, and identity

In contemporary EU political discourses of rurality, rural zones are no longer regarded primarily as zones for the production of food. Instead, they are viewed in multifunctional terms: as partly aesthetic resources, areas for the conservation of biodiversity and the management (if not invention) of heritage, to be exploited for the boosting of agro- and eco-tourism and other leisure industries. Thus the Galician anthropologist Elena Freire shows how in the 1990s the Galician Autonomous Community (GAC), working in league with the EC, stimulated the revival of autochthonous pottery and paid for the unemployed to train as potters. After detailing the customary mode of pottery production in the area, which fell into abeyance in the 1960s, she discusses its differences with the revitalized form: the new potters do not come from the ranks of the traditional, long-established potter-families of the area; they do not enter extended apprenticeships but undergo brief accredited courses; their production is not oriented to everyday items of domestic use, but to mainly decorative items branded as ‘heritage’ in Galician nationalist terms.

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