Valérie Nègre

Craft knowledge and building sites in French historiography (c. 1750-1850)

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This paper presents three directions of research related to artisanal knowledge in French historiography. The first one is the identification and definition of what we call ‘artisanal knowledge’ or ‘practical knowledge’. Artisanal knowledge is not an obvious term. Since the Renaissance, it has been assumed that artisans were essentially manual workers, while architects based their activity on knowledge (theoretical and practical). In the building trade, the expression ‘artisanal knowledge’ is still largely a hypothesis that raises the question of whether there are forms of knowledge specific to craftsmen, distinct from scientific and artistic knowledge. The second line of research focuses on the artisanal knowledge related to the design of ordinary houses at a time when luxury was entering the home and devices to improve health, safety and comfort became essential. The third direction of research deals with the production and circulation of knowledge on the building sites


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