Craft Imaginaries – Past, Present and Future

Bell, Emma; Dacin, M. Tina and Toraldo, Maria Laura (2021). Craft Imaginaries – Past, Present and Future. Organization Theory, 2(1) pp. 1–18.



This paper contributes to debates about craft authenticity by turning attention to the craft imaginary. We suggest that the significance of craft stems from its role in constructing an alternative social imaginary that challenges dominant, modernist imaginaries of industrial production and consumption. Our focus is on the role of imaginaries in determining how societies, communities, organizations and individuals embody temporal relations to the past that extend into the present and future. We show how the craft imaginary comprises histories, traditions, places and bodies and use this to develop a distinction between the imaginary of craft-in-the-past and future-oriented craft imaginaries. Through this, we seek to highlight the organizational possibilities of craft as a source of innovation, inclusivity and disruption.

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