Between Craft and Science
Technical Work in the United States
Edited by Stephen R. Barley, Julian E. Orr
Between Craft and Science brings together leading scholars from sociology, anthropology, industrial relations, management, and engineering to consider issues surrounding technical work, the most rapidly expanding sector of the labor force. Part craft and part science, part blue-collar and part white-collar, technical work demands skill and knowledge but is rarely rewarded with commensurate status or salary.
The book first considers the anomalous nature of technical work and the difficulty of locating it in any conventional theoretical framework. Only an ethnographic approach, studying the actual doing of the work, will make sense of the subject, the authors conclude. The studies that follow report daily practice filled with disjunctures and ironies that mirror the ambiguities of technical work's place in the larger culture. On the basis of those studies, the authors probe questions of policy, management, and education.
Between Craft and Science considers the cultural difficulties in understanding technical work and advances coherent, practice-oriented insights into this anomalous phenomenon.