The changing nature of artisanal work and occupations: important for understanding labour markets

SOURCE: Development Southern Africa
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): A.Wildschut, T.Meyer
DEPARTMENT: Inclusive Economic Development (IED)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 9321

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The social and political conditions within which artisans are required to work have shifted globally. The South African policy concern is to train bigger quantities and improve artisanal skills quality, while simultaneously providing more opportunities for young, black and women artisans. A concern for academia is how this shifting milieu will impact on our understanding of artisanal work and occupations and what implications should this have for further research. Using the concept of occupational boundaries, we investigate, at a micro level, real and perceived change to work in three artisanal trades. The study shows that while some elements have changed, the division of labour reinforces the traditional scope of artisanal work in relation to other occupational groups. The findings reconfirm the complex relationship between changes to work and the demand for skills, and importantly highlight the sociology of work as a critical but undervalued dimension in labour market analysis.