Reinhold Reith

Animal laborans and homo faber

An historical approach to the “craftsman orientation”

Ferrum 91/2019

The “rediscovery of craftsmanship” and the “renaissance of manual skills” derive primarily from Richard Sennett’s attempt to get to the essence of craftsmanship. This paper is therefore devoted to examining Sennett’s thesis of craftsmanship, which he regards as a perpetual human impulse: “the desire to do a job well for its own sake.” The paper closes with a dissenting plea for an historical analysis of craftsmanship and argues for a technology-history perspective as a complement to Sennett’s “powerful materialism”.

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