Toward a Theorization of Craft

William Mitchell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 73

Socio-Legal Studies, Forthcoming

36 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2006


This paper was prepared for inclusion in a symposium on "judgecraft." My specific goal in this paper is to develop a theorization of craft as an analytic concept that can be applied in studies of the work of professionals, including both judges and lawyers. Building on sociological work that distinguishes craft from art, I describe a set of elements that can be used to analyze the work and working situation of lawyers, judges, and other professionals: utility, consistency, clientele, skills & techiques, problem solving, and aesthetic. I posit that these elements can be organized along two dimensions, one that distinguishes between elements that are internal to the craft community and those that are external, and a second dimension that distinguishes elements that deal with production, functionality, and evaluation. The paper concludes with suggestions as to how this framework might be applied to the analysis of the work of judges.

Keywords: legal profession, judicial behavior, judging

Suggested Citation

Kritzer, Herbert M., Toward a Theorization of Craft. William Mitchell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 73, Socio-Legal Studies, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Herbert M. Kritzer (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota Law School ( email )

229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

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