Of Work and Words: Craft as a Way of Telling


  • Tim Ingold University of Aberdeen




making, hapticality, habitus, embodied knowledge, telling


This article takes issue with the notion of embodied knowledge by focusing on habit—the habit of craftsmen, artisans, musicians and scholars. The argument has two components. The first is to show that the habits that enable practitioners to move on in the accomplishment of their tasks are neither tacit nor sedimented in the body but generated and enacted in an attentive and kinaesthetic correspondence with tools, materials and environment. This correspondence is not silent and still but noisy and turbulent, open and alive to the world. To describe it, we adopt the notion of hapticality. In the domain of hapticality, thinking is the churn of a mind that stirs and is stirred by the sounds and feelings of the milieu. This why habitual action is also thoughtful, characterised by an awareness that is not so much cognitive as concentrative. This leads to the second part of the argument, which is to show that words, too, are living things, immersed in the currents of hapticality. Thus we refute the opposition, built into the constitution of the academy, between verbalisation and embodiment. Work and words, we insist, are animate. They both unfold in habit and afford ways of telling.


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How to Cite

Ingold, T. (2019). Of Work and Words: Craft as a Way of Telling. European Journal of Creative Practices in Cities and Landscapes, 2(2), 5–17. https://doi.org/10.6092/issn.2612-0496/10447