'Set in Stone?' Building a new geography of the dry-stone wall

Paterson, Mhairi (2015) 'Set in Stone?' Building a new geography of the dry-stone wall. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Dry-stone walls in Britain have a rich and enduring landscape heritage: they extend for miles across the countryside but are all too often overlooked. Contrary to common laments that describe walling as a dying craft, this thesis explores the social, cultural and historical geographies which frame walling as a thriving trade and lively hobby. It employs ethnographic and practice-led methodologies (undertaken primarily in Scotland) to understand the embodied, emotional and material dimensions of the dry-stone craft. Methods include observant participation of instructional courses, craft demonstrations and competitions; in-depth interviews with professional and amateur wallers; and, documentary analysis of textual walling material dating from the early 20th century. The thesis considers the place of the rural dry-stone wall and explains how economic, social and cultural developments have led to the construction of dry-stone features within more urbanised locales. In so doing, this research explains how walling has become a socially and culturally diverse activity, enrolled within narratives of contemporary forms of craftpersonship and community engagement projects. By engaging directly with dry-stone walling practice, this thesis also addresses recent disciplinary appeals to explore experimental and participatory approaches to doing research. Taking seriously knowledge acquired through the body, it therefore refigures, in vital and novel ways, how contemporary realisations of historic landscapes and craft traditions are known and understood.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Human geography, dry-stone walls, landscape, phenomenology, practice-led research, embodiment, craft
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences > Geography
Funder's Name: UNSPECIFIED
Supervisor's Name: Lorimer, Professor Hayden and Parr, Professor Hester
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Ms Mhairi Paterson
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6808
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2015 13:38
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2015 08:28
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/6808

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