Servers of Craft: Making and Teaching Taste among 'Cool' Blue-Collar Workers

A CAMEo research seminar

Wednesday 4 October 2017, 3.30-5.00pm

Main Hall, Attenborough Arts Centre, Lancaster Road, LE1 7HA

In today's new economy — in which "good" jobs are typically knowledge or technology based — many well-educated and culturally savvy young people are instead choosing to pursue traditionally low-status manual labor occupations as careers, despite other work options. In his new book, Masters of Craft: Old Jobs in the New Urban Economy, Richard E. Ocejo looks at the renaissance of four such trades — bartending, distilling, barbering, and butchering. Focusing on a chapter from the book, in this talk he will discuss how these workers produce and inculcate taste, and elevate these jobs to a new form of elite cultural production.

This event was organized by CAMEo’s Cultural Production and Consumption Research Strand.

About the speaker: Richard E. Ocejo is Associate Professor of Sociology at John Jay College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). He is the author of Masters of Craft: Old Jobs in the New Urban Economy (Princeton University Press, 2017), about the transformation of low-status occupations into cool, cultural taste-making jobs (cocktail bartenders, craft distillers, upscale men’s barbers, and whole animal butchers), and of Upscaling Downtown: From Bowery Saloons to Cocktail Bars in New York City (Princeton University Press, 2014), about growth policies, nightlife, and conflict in gentrified neighborhoods. His work has appeared in such journals as City & Community, Poetics, Ethnography, and the European Journal of Cultural Studies. He is also the editor of Ethnography and the City: Readings on Doing Urban Fieldwork (Routledge, 2012) and serves on the editorial boards of the journals Metropolitics, Work and Occupations, and the Journal for Undergraduate Ethnography.

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