User:Luisa Moura/thematic/trimester III/Sennett

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The craftsman, as defined by Sennett, works with engagement and in the pursuit of excellence regarding a certain skill; invests time and attention on details, working on a process of permanent research. Such attitude is subjective, leads to unpredictable results and is hard to judge (quality) or to quantify (efficiency). These are characteristics that don't fit contemporary market demands or institutional control and are therefore very inconvenient.

Detaching head and hand leads to impairment and impairment leads to demotivation. A demotivated worker eventually produces badly and indifferently, but it is easy to substitute him by someone new (the culture of perpetual internship / freelance labor)

In contemporary practice workers are often not rewarded or paid to have an overview on what is being produced or executed. It is mostly inconvenient that they would do so; they would question it and eventually try to act on their own behalf. Serial production and extensive use of machinery don't benefit the worker, once it permanently limits the exercise of their own capabilities leading to frustration; the system seems to be based on energy drainage and quick dismissal of human labor.

I wonder what did exactly happened with Nokia and Motorola, mentioned by Sennett. Did workers actually feel that they were engaging in the process? Did they actually have an overview and took the research in their own hands? Did the subtraction of hierarchy and permanent state of research lead to this great state of creative production by itself? Do we have any other cultural / historical motive for its success?

OFFICE | CORPORATION - Companies in countries with strict social and labor regulations try to engage their workers in a feeling of cooperation and friendliness, knowing that it is an important ingredient for a greater dedication, loyalty and productivity. But additionally a set of rewards should be given to employees in order to keep them playing the dedication-role: growing salaries, fair working hours, holidays, healthcare.

ARCHITECTURE SCHOOL - PORTO, the limitations of the craftsman's dream: the education of a legion of cheap, deeply engaged and utopian laborers. Positive side: The architectural exercise from a sensorial point of view. The mass of paper and drawing, sketch till exaustion; the model, the materiality of the walls, the respect for vernacular construction, the mechanisms of perception and its manipulation, the critical sense explored to its limit (choice of a default ideal); the concept as research tool and not as marketing narrative.

MANDATORY EDUCATION until adulthood: generic, abstract, mostly useless contents for great part of the students. Why not a greater attention to actual specialization within technical, manual or any other practical skills? (Stigmatization of the technical work)

CRAFT AND COLLECTIVITY - The craftsman seems to be a creature in deep need of protection. It seems important to notice that the craftsman needs a collectivity or a collective goal in order to pursuit safely his work and research. There must be a specific challenge and there must be a set of rules (limitation of tools or strategies among peers, a great ideal and a sort of protectionism status). The isolated craftsman has little power or value. If the craftsman is not aggregated to a bigger picture, if he is not serving a public goal and is not institutionally recognized, he has no chance to endure as such.

Medieval guilds: The craftsman didn't need an identity within his group. They had a sense of belonging regarding a specific city or village, their knowledge was shared and permanently improved and kept within the walls of the city. There was a code of honor regarding the secrets of their method, the prices of their produce and the transmission of their knowledge. They had enormous power and were in charge in many cities. The guilds represented the control of local labor, production and trade. It is a bit unclear in how far apprentices would be such all the time or would eventually reach the status of craftsmen themselves


"European guilds imposed long standardized periods of apprenticeship, and made it difficult for those lacking the capital to set up for themselves or without the approval of their peers to gain access to materials or knowledge, or to sell into certain markets, an area that equally dominated the guilds' concerns. These are defining characteristics of mercantilism in economics, which dominated most European thinking about political economy until the rise of classical economics"

"The guild system became a target of much criticism towards the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. They were believed to oppose free trade and hinder technological innovation, technology transfer and business development. According to several accounts of this time, guilds became increasingly involved in simple territorial struggles against each other and against free practitioners of their arts"

"Guilds are sometimes said to be the precursors of modern trade unions, and also of some aspects of the modern corporation. Guilds, however, were groups of self-employed skilled craftsmen with ownership and control over the materials and tools they needed to produce their goods. Guilds were, in other words, small business associations and thus had very little in common with trade unions. Guilds were more like cartels than they were like trade unions (Olson 1982)"


The market value of craftsmanship as icon of authenticity: cultural meaning and collective desire.