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shop class, soulcraft: excerpts, thoughts

updated mon 10 may 10


Stephani Stephenson on sun 9 may 10

Random thoughts:
I like how Crawford loosely distinguishes 'trade' and 'craft'; that he wa=
to avoid the "mysticism that often gets attached to craftsmanship"
"As a rough working formula, we might say that craftsmanship, as an ideal=
provides the standards, but that in a mass market economy such as ours it=
the tradesman who exemplifies and economically valuable way of life, one
that is broadly available and provides many of the same satisfactions we
associate with craftsmanship"

Crawford notes that employers today bemoan the lack of skilled manual
tradesmen available for hire (he also notes a 1915 article bemoaning the
same thing, which I think brings some perspective to the issue).
he also asserts that being a skilled tradesman is actually , ironically, =
way to make a decent living in today's world. because you can think and
repair and build stuff with actual materials
as opposed to cyber stuff or conceptual stuff or managerial stuff or
promotional stuff..

I can't help but tell you what I observe here., and without getting into=

the political territory, if I may, what I notice in southern California ,=
that ,(my own observation here, not a scientific study by any means), a g=
number of the skilled tradesmen are of Mexican descent if not
Mexican/Latino, or other immigrants. I have watched skilled carpenters
refurbish and rebuild boats with very specific knowledge about woodworkin=
upholstery ,etc. An Aussie welder with marine skills, welding the pulpit=
a sailboat.
French and Mexican sailmakers.
Skilled masons and plasterers as well. When Balboa Park was built in
1913-15. Italian sculptors came to do the sculpted facades, but also went=
Tijuana to find skilled sculptors, plasterers, etc., to create those
fabulous building facades. Iron and metal tradesmen, seamstresses,
leatherwokers, shoemakers, mechanics, stonemasons, potters, all the
construction trades, dental trades... that work is not menial work in a
derogatory sense, but
demographically, that is what I notice.=3D20=3D20
The trades have not disappeared, it is just that it has maybe shifted,
demographically speaking, or maybe it has often been that way. in our
heartland i suspect that with the loss of small farms, we have lost a gr=
number of skilled minds and hands. that has been happening for a century.=

one additional thought. Crawford mentions the 'for profit' colleges who
cater to the training people for 'trades' and skilled occupations ... I s=
an eye opening program the other night on for profit colleges. The progra=
was on public television's "Frontline'. Called "College, inc.". thought i=
points out the need these colleges are filling, there are some sad, sad
stories, here and some grating and disturbing revelations. talk about a
pyramid scheme masquerading as education.
here's the link