Handmade in Spain: The Culture of
Kevin Dawe with Moira Dawe
In this chapter we aim to reveal some of the forces converging upon and mechanisms operating within the world of guitar making in Spain. Local discourses of identity and authenticity emerge in the distinctly‘between-worlds’ setting of the guitar workshop, this local world made all the more distinctive though a poetics of place and a politics of craftsmanship. In these discourses‘here’, rather than ‘there’, is‘better’; whilst‘better’ is‘made by hand’ rather than‘madeby machine’. This quite specific case of‘the global’ being apprehended by‘the local’ shows that workshops are not places where guitar makers exist in splendid isolation; rather, their lives and works must be seen as having a dynamic relationship with the outside world and viewed within particular social and cultural settings.
Clearly, within the dimensions of Arjun Appadurai's‘global cultural economy’ a set of fluid and overlapping landscapes - ethnoscapes, mediascapes, technoscapes, fmanscapes and ideoscapes - converge upon and interact with the guitarscape of the workshop in quite specific and subtle ways. 1 This merging of -scapes comes in many forms, from the rising prices of timber to the fluctuating interest in the classical guitar, from the ways in which global tourism enters into the workshop to the dialogue between small workshop owners and internationally acclaimed guitarists. However, guitar makers also inhabit a world formed out of a unique intersection of material, social and cultural worlds. In this musical habitus (this nexus of practices, structures and structuring forces, Bourdieu 1977), these musical artisans function not merely as makers of cultural artifacts, but as agents setting a variety of social practices in motion. Lives and livelihoods are literally built around the guitar and the guitar workshop.
Guitar makers are in a position of power and authority, and are custodians of the knowledge that brings the guitar to life. So we consider guitar making as the basis for the construction of cultural difference in Spain in the manner that we consider other aspects of Spanish guitar culture. We use this material to emphasize the importance of the guitar in Spanish culture as a whole, especially as a site for a range of social and cultural exchanges. For instance, the Cordoba International Guitar Festival epitomizes a convergence of‘the local’ and‘the global’, the meeting