Modus Operandi in Opus Operatum: The Shaping of Historical Wooden Towns by Traditional Workmanship
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The aim of this thesis was to analyse the phenomenon of traditional workmanship and its role in urban conservation throughout history and in recent times by focusing on the main case of Røros in Norway, and by comparing it with two supplementary cases of urban conservation: Kokkola in Finland and Trakai in Lithuania. Besides the multinational case studies, the research also took a multidisciplinary (socio-historical, architectural and socio-anthropological) approach in order to show how the concept of “traditional workmanship” was used as the legitimizing instrument in the practice of heritage conservation and how this concept evolved over time, by including differing or even contrary content that, in turn, resulted in varying architectural and urban physical expressions after practical actions of heritage conservation were taken. This research sought to improve the body of knowledge about urban conservation in practice, by tracing and describing active processes of conservation projects. Hereby, the use of traditional workmanship was analysed through the levels of urban, architectural conservation, and by highlighting the detailed woodworking. One actual ongoing conservation project was investigated in each of the chosen urban conservation areas by using qualitative research methods, while the quantitative analysis mapped diverse social structures within three historical wooden towns. The comparative study of urban conservation performances was conducted by applying and verifying Pierre Bourdieu’s theoretical framework. Finally, a hypothesis was tested that national fields of heritage conservation developed demand for traditional workmanship by creating supply, i.e. by establishing the subfields of traditional workmanship. The highlighted varying statuses of subfields of traditional workmanship in different space and time dimensions enabled the disclosure of the level of dependency of the subfield of restricted cultural production on the field of heritage conservation and vice versa, and therewith allowed the assessment of the actual role of traditional workmanship in urban conservation of wooden historical towns.