Masters of Craft by Richard E. Ocejo
Old Jobs in the New Urban Economy

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The author engagingly portrays several workers, tracing their motivations for choosing a job, their satisfactions and challenges, and plans for their futures. A close-up and often entertaining look at new service jobs in an urban economy.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

How educated and culturally savvy young people are transforming traditionally low-status manual labor jobs into elite taste-making occupations

In today’s new economy—in which “good” jobs are typically knowledge or technology based—many well-educated and culturally savvy young men are instead choosing to pursue traditionally low-status manual labor occupations as careers. Masters of Craft looks at the renaissance of four such trades: bartending, distilling, barbering, and butchering.

In this in-depth and engaging book, Richard Ocejo takes you into the lives and workplaces of these people to examine how they are transforming these once-undesirable jobs into “cool” and highly specialized upscale occupational niches—and in the process complicating our notions about upward and downward mobility through work. He shows how they find meaning in these jobs by enacting a set of “cultural repertoires,” which include technical skills based on a renewed sense of craft and craftsmanship and an ability to understand and communicate that knowledge to others, resulting in a new form of elite taste-making. Ocejo describes the paths people take to these jobs, how they learn their chosen trades, how they imbue their work practices with craftsmanship, and how they teach a sense of taste to their consumers.

Focusing on cocktail bartenders, craft distillers, upscale men’s barbers, and whole-animal butcher shop workers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and upstate New York, Masters of Craft provides new insights into the stratification of taste, gentrification, and the evolving labor market in today’s postindustrial city.

 

About Richard E. Ocejo

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Richard E. Ocejo is assistant professor of sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY. He is the editor of "Ethnography and the City: Readings on Doing Urban Fieldwork".
 
Published April 24, 2017 by Princeton University Press. 358 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Business & Economics. Non-fiction
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on Feb 20 2017

The author engagingly portrays several workers, tracing their motivations for choosing a job, their satisfactions and challenges, and plans for their futures. A close-up and often entertaining look at new service jobs in an urban economy.

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