This morning I released the latest Burning Archive podcast. It is another in the series prompted by questions from my son – in episode 32 on connections between gaming and history. This one focussed on professions or tradeskills and guilds.
The quick summary or teaser for the episode published on the podcast players is below:
When we play computer games, especially role play games like World of Warcraft or Skyrim, it is no surprise we don’t do our day job. Noone wants to play a night elf project manager in WOW or a Nord uber contract driver in Skyrim. In games, we see a different pre-modern world of work – of artisans, craft skills and guilds. Was this world ever real, and what does this fantasy world of work tell us of our collective memory of work and collective organisation? Join Jeff Rich on this fascinating tour of the history of work, guilds and unions, and the global transformations of ideas of work in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.The Burning Archive podcast episode 52. Professions and Guilds in Games and History
During the show I discuss the history of work, guilds and economies, and refer in particular to the great global transformations of the 19th century. The transformations of labour and the beginning of industrial society has had a profound effect on our culture and grand narratives of history. They gave birth to Marxism, perhaps even the concept of the modern, and as well the nostalgia for the pre-modern world, as represented, for example, in the arts and crafts movement of William Morris.
The story in this podcast episode is grounded in the work of Jürgen Osterhammel, The Transformation of the World: a Global History of the Nineteenth Century. It is a wonderful and creative book, well worth a read especially if you are interested in global history.
I also get a chance to discuss my own PhD on the history of work and craft unions in building industry in the nineteenth century. This one is harder to get online but I think I have a bad photocopy of it available on Research Gate. Otherwise you can also get to it via the ANU library. But in even better news I plan over the next year or so to convert this text, recovered via optical character recognition, into a publishable book that I will bring to the world hopefully in 2023. It will take a while, but I will let you know when it is done.
In the meantime do enjoy this podcast, and leave me a 5-star review! Subscribe and share with your friends.
Image Credit: Birds by William Morris (1834-1896). Original from The MET Museum via Wikimedia Commons