Sketching with Knives: Architects & The Confidence Theory of Magic
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionHagen ALH. Sketching with Knives: Architects & The Confidence Theory of Magic. Anthropology Today. 2017;33(2):24-27 http://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8322.12338
‘Isn't gravity wonderful? That's the magic trick in a way'. The Malinowskian ‘confidence theory of magic’ (1935) points to how a person, through the ritual act, becomes empowered to believe he can master nature's obstacles, and thus become equipped to undertake tasks from which he would otherwise shrink. The relation between creativity, magic and professional confidence is investigated through ethnographic fieldwork in the internationally renowned architecture company, Snøhetta, based in Oslo and New York. Crafting magic is performed by architects posing as digital experts of software technology and model making, and ritual experts who voice spells and formulas to guide the creative processes throughout competition phases. Inspired by the works of Malinowski (1922, 1935, 1948), Firth (1939) and Gell (1992), this article explores the phenomenon of magical capitalism as it enters the domain of competition and creative collaboration in organizations.