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Masters of Craft

Dr. Will Kurlinkus


n  Research Question

n  Focus: Who/what you studied.

n  Method: How you studied.

n  Findings: What did you find out? And

how does this relate to theories of our
Key Concepts
Work Ethnographic
n  Work (Meaningful work & n  Emic vs. Etic Data
Good Job)
n  Thick Description
n  Expertise & Expert Novice
n  Culture vs. Community
n  Profession
n  Discourse Community+
n  Flow
Community of Practice
n  Cool
n  Habitus
n  Emotional labor
n  Technical Communication
n  Taste
+ Ethnographic Fields
Choose three to connect together

n  Cool (bartender vs mixologist) n  Exceptions and rule

n  What is good? n  Key ceremonies (slowing
time and focusing n  Key debates in
n  Norms attention) community

n  Insiders and outsiders n  Key places (safe spaces) n  Different characters,

roles, and positions in
n  Tradition n  Co-membership/ecology community
of brother/sister
n  Taste communities (craft n  Conversion experience or
distilling, bartending, joining rituals
n  Authenticity slow food)
n  Outsiders inside (Pueblo
n  Philosophies of life n  Phonies and fakes meet cutters, barbacks)

n  Ways to police good n  Challenges and risks to n  Failures

taste/Sanctions the community
(challenges to n  Concepts of time
n  Reaction to outside labels
Craft: What is it?
Why is it important?
Craft: And Writing?
n  Craft as crafting: the view that the process of making is just as (or more)
important than the product. Seen under recent marketing terms like “artisan-
made,” this approach values skill and technique over mechanistic

n  Craft as product: the view that products made using a craft process carry a
Benjaminian “aura” of originality that individuates the consumer, worships
tradition through consumption, meshes with local values, and bonds user
and producer.

n  Craft as a set of rights: the view that craft is a set of rights that offsets the
alienation of workers from the products of their labor, stresses the skill of the
worker, and develops workers as unique individuals who have a right to
gratification and freedom in their jobs.

n  Glenn Adamson: “The application of skill and material-based knowledge to

relatively small-scale production.”

n  David Pye: “the workmanship of risk” vs.“the workmanship of certainty”

n  Tami Katz-Frieberg: “laboriousness + obsession = authenticity”

n  William Morris: “So long as man allows his daily work to be mere unrelieved
drudgery he will seek happiness in vain. . .the worst tyrants of the days of
violence were but feeble tormentors compared with those Captains of
Industry who have taken the pleasure of work away from the workmen.”
Craft Ethics
n  “Folk revivals, often grouped under the heading of Romantic
Nationalism, have involved a great deal of stereotype and cultural
chauvinism. . .placed a great emphasis on craft traditions as authentic
expressions of the homeland, or as means to cleanse a visual culture
tainted by foreign influence.” Adamson

n  Bryce Covert on Payin with Lovin: “They have to come up with cutesy
tasks. . . . If someone dances, they have to dance too. . . . [P]oorly paid
people [have] to slather a smile onto their face and cover up the real
conditions under which they labor. . . . [F]amilies can’t survive on the
money they make. But the company instead wants its customers to see
employees who are genuinely delighted that a mother hugged her son
in front of them.”

n  therapeutic class tourism: “Alex, a university professor by day,

explicates this idea of class tourism: ‘[DIY home improvement is a]
chance for me to be something entirely di erent than a professor for a
day or two a week . . . kind of an image of myself as almost being blue-
collar for a couple days a week’” (Risto Moisio et al. 303).