Sensitive translations. Sensitive dimension and knowledge within the Italian furniture production sector
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SubjectActor-network theory; Body; Corporal knowledge; Craftsman; Design; Innovation; Semiotics; Sensitive knowledge; Tactile knowledge
In our paper we address the issue of the relations between knowledge and the sensitive dimension by taking into account and comparing the contribution to the production of a chair deployed by two craftsmen working within the Italian design furniture industry sector. Relying on an ethnographic account of their work, we have been able to describe in detail the way in which the interaction among the bodies of the two craftsmen and those of the artifacts they contribute to develop takes place and gives way to innovation. By taking into account the role of bodies and the sensitive dimension we outline a contribution to Actor-Network Theory and its theory of knowledge. Indeed, in this article we propose a model of working knowledge in order to account for corporal interaction on the workplace. In our model there are two axes to describe the interactions among bodies. In the first one interaction moves from detail to the whole. In the second, interaction moves from an engaged position to a disengaged one. In so doing, we are able to draw a space of corporal knowledge. The craftsman’s skill lies in his/her capacity to move within this space and to let knowledge grow while moving within it.
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