Repair work as good work: craft and love in classic car restoration training

Bozkurt, Ödül and Cohen, Rachel Lara (2019) Repair work as good work: craft and love in classic car restoration training. Human Relations, 72 (6). pp. 1105-1128. ISSN 0018-7267

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Abstract

Repair work is essential if we are to develop environmentally sustainable societies, but repair activity has largely disappeared in advanced economies. Where it survives, work in repair is typically ‘dirty’ and undesirable. This article asks how repair work can be experienced as ‘good work’, drawing on the accounts of 20 trainees on a classic car restoration course. We observe that two features made repair ‘good work’ in their eyes: craft and love. Craft skills enabled trainees to imagine improved employment futures, but also engendered emotional satisfactions. What the trainees emphasized even more was love, in four distinct ways. First, there was ‘object love’ for the classic car. Second, love was evoked as repair reconnected them with ‘authentic’ younger selves. Third, love was claimed to be a prerequisite to do the work. Fourth, love mediated market relationships, connecting repairers and clients in a ‘community of enthusiasm’. Our discussion contributes to studies of workplace emotions, which typically focus on feminized work, by showing how love also matters in experiences of masculine work. Identifying the attractions of repair, we also consider the liminal context of training and highlight the key conditions for the survival and growth of repair as paid ‘good work’.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: classic cars, craft, emotion and work, good work, love, manual skills, masculine work repair, restoration, skills
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Management
Research Centres and Groups: Future of Work Hub
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labour > HD4801 Labour. Work. Working class
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labour > HD4801 Labour. Work. Working class > HD5701 Labour market. Labour supply. Labour demand Including unemployment, manpower policy, occupational training, employment agencies
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labour > HD4801 Labour. Work. Working class > HD6951 Industrial sociology. Social conditions of labour
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Depositing User: Odul Bozkurt
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2018 14:09
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2019 13:48
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/76583

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