For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

The Craftsman

by Sennett, Richard (2008)


Why do people work hard, and take pride in what they do? This book, a philosophically-minded enquiry into practical activity of many different kinds past and present, is about what happens when people try to do a good job. It asks us to think about the true meaning of skill in the 'skills society' and argues that pure competition is a poor way to achieve quality work. Sennett suggests, instead, that there is a craftsman in every human being, which can sometimes be enormously motivating and inspiring - and can also in other circumstances make individuals obsessive and frustrated. The Craftsman shows how history has drawn fault-lines between craftsman and artist, maker and user, technique and expression, practice and theory, and that individuals' pride in their work,

Key Passage

 A  graver  portent  of  the  artisan’s darkening fortunes appears in the writings of Aristotle on the nature of craft. In the Metaphysics, he declares, ‘‘We consider that the architects in every profession are more estimable and know more and are wise than the artisans, because they know the reasons of the things which are done.’’ Aristotle abandons the old word for the craftsman, demioergos,  and  uses  instead cheirotechnon, which  means  simply  hand-worker. (p.23)


Craft, Craftsmanship, Skill, Art, Pride, Technique, Heidegger, Work Quality, Meaningful Work, Artist, Communication



Links to Reference



How to contribute.