Lebenszufriedenheit, Identität und Zukunftsperspektiven im Handwerk.

Lebenszufriedenheit, Identität und Zukunftsperspektiven im Handwerk.
Ein inter- und transdisziplinäres Experiment


Awarding Authority
Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony

01.06.2019 – 31.05.2020

Short description

Craft is an important and extremely diverse economic sector in Germany. 28.8 percent of all companies in Germany (around one million small and medium-sized enterprises) are craft enterprises. The craft sector employs 12.5 percent (5.45 million) of all employees and provides a high level of human capital: 27.4 percent (1/2 million) of all trainees receive dual training in the craft sector and thus vocational training that particularly enables them to solve complex problems. The craft trades also occupy an important position in the overall economy of Lower Saxony: In 2012, there were a total of 48,900 craft enterprises in our federal state, employing 421,000 people in the core sector. In relation to the total corporate landscape in Lower Saxony with around 308,500 companies, just under 16 percent of both companies and employees are craftsmen.

Despite these considerable foundations, the skilled trades sector currently faces a host of challenges: Important keywords are: Shortage of skilled workers, demanualisation, industrialisation, digitisation. Industrial production processes have undoubtedly given 'hand' and 'factory' an extended dynamic, marginalised central trades and allowed others to emerge. According to the tenor of a study published in 2011 by the Volkswirtschaftliches Institut für Handwerksforschung Göttingen, they have led to an identity crisis in the craft trades and have led to a demand to answer the question of the "consequences of structural change for the identity of the craft trades" by orienting it towards qualitative criteria.

The inter- and transdisciplinary research experiment proposed here combines economic-quantitative with cultural-anthropological-qualitative methods,

  • to open the social discourse for self-expressions of actors in the craft industry by means of an empirically deepened survey on job and life satisfaction in the craft industry. The survey has already been carried out as a foundation for the project. On the one hand, the data generated in this way will be quantitatively evaluated in close exchange with practical partners from craft policy and the craft media, and on the other hand, it will be qualitatively deepened on the basis of examples from the craft sector in Lower Saxony.
  • to strengthen the social discourse about the sustainability of this important economic sector through targeted communication and public discussion of the results
  • to strengthen the future viability of this important economic sector
  • to make a novel contribution to crafts research and to contribute to the discourse on the possibilities of transformative science and to
  • to make a contribution to the adjustment of the social esteem for craft trades.

The overarching aim of the research project is to make a significant contribution to the social debate with the craft industry. The quantitative-qualitative survey aims to show the value of craft activity for the individual and the overall "benefit" that can be derived from it. The authors are not aware of any study of this type for the craft trades sector. An interdisciplinary linking of these areas has not yet happened scientifically.

Project partner & contact