Working Knowledge: Skill and Community in a Small Shop

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9780520079700: Working Knowledge: Skill and Community in a Small Shop
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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.

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From the Inside Flap:

"Harper's portrait of Willie, the all-around craftsman, is more than an endearing one. It is a reflection on the role, good and bad, that technology, its use and misuse, has played in our lives. Working Knowledge is beyond nostalgia. It is a challenge for us to take a long hard look at where we are today in the matter of our life and our work."—Studs Terkel

About the Author:

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

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780226316888: Working Knowledge: Skill and Community in a Small Shop

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ISBN 10:  0226316882 ISBN 13:  9780226316888
Publisher: University of Chicago Press, 1987
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