The Changing Nature and Meanings of Manual Work

  • Maria-Carmen Pantea


This chapter examines the changing nature and meanings of manual work, with an emphasis on two poles: craftsmanship and precarious work, which are used as ‘ideal types’. The first part defines craftsmanship as ‘an enduring, basic human impulse, the desire to do a job well for its own sake’ (Sennett, The craftsman. Yale University Press, New Haven, 2008). It links craftsmanship with a sense of vocation, described as a practice that incorporates a personal dimension (the ‘calling’), and a social, public facet (Hansen, Educ Theory 44:259–275, 1994; Billett, Vocational education. Purposes, traditions and prospects. Springer, Dordrecht, 2011). The second part looks at several transformations in the world of work (notably de-skilling) that threaten the notion of craftsmanship as vocation and, implicitly, people’s sense of identity, pride and sociality.


Craftsmanship Precarious work Vocation Industrial work Services Manual work Identity 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria-Carmen Pantea
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Sociology and Social WorkBabeș-Bolyai UniversityCluj-NapocaRomania

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