The craft ideal in contemporary work

Theme for 5.2

‘The realm of freedom actually begins only where labour which is determined by necessity and mundane considerations
ceases.’*

The lifestyle of a studio craftsperson seems an ideal vision of labour. Work is pursued for its intrinsic pleasure, rather than just the pay-check at the end of the week. Seen in this way, the craftsperson can be put forward as a model for other kinds of work, such as software coding.

To what extent can contemporary craft be read seriously as a space for alternative visions of labour practice?

* Karl Marx, Capital vol. 111 (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1972), p. 820 (quoted in John Roberts ‘Labor, Emancipation, and the Critique of Craft-Skill’ Journal of Modern Craft Volume 5—Issue 2 July 2012 pp. 137–148)

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