Working Knowledge: Skill and Community in a Small Shop

Front Cover
University of California Press, 1987 - Social Science - 224 pages
0 Reviews
00 In this engaging ethnography, illustrated with nearly 100 photographs, Douglas Harper examines the "working knowledge" of a machinist with a small shop in upstate New York. Harper gives us this man's philosophy of work and shows how his work fits into the web of life in his community. In addition to fairly conventional auto and farm equipment repair, he rebuilds and creates new machines out of salvaged materials, drawing on his deep knowledge of these materials and how machines work. Harper's study addresses the large issues of the historical shift from the independent work of the medieval artisan to industrial production and the increasing automation of today. His ethnographic skills bring substance to his consideration of de-skilling, alienation, and the rationalization of work in the contemporary world. In this engaging ethnography, illustrated with nearly 100 photographs, Douglas Harper examines the "working knowledge" of a machinist with a small shop in upstate New York. Harper gives us this man's philosophy of work and shows how his work fits into the web of life in his community. In addition to fairly conventional auto and farm equipment repair, he rebuilds and creates new machines out of salvaged materials, drawing on his deep knowledge of these materials and how machines work. Harper's study addresses the large issues of the historical shift from the independent work of the medieval artisan to industrial production and the increasing automation of today. His ethnographic skills bring substance to his consideration of de-skilling, alienation, and the rationalization of work in the contemporary world.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Other editions - View all

About the author (1987)

Douglas Harper is Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology, University of South Florida and the author of Good Company (1982).

Bibliographic information