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This article focuses on the enduring significance of craft in the careers of Kent Royal Dockyard craft workers and their sons and grandsons after deindustrialisation. The closure of this naval shipbuilding and repair yard together with the subsequent move to post-industrial employment did not end men’s engagement with their craft practices. Instead this developed into ‘a craft outlook’ defined by a motivation for performing actualising labour that interwove paid and non-paid work. Men’s careers did not become individualised projects of self as collaborative intergenerational practices gave a long-term narrative to their careers and lives. Therefore three contributions are proposed to the literature on working class male careers and craft. First, an analytical framework is advanced that empirically distinguishes a ‘craft outlook’ from traditional manual trade employment. Second, a craft outlook reflected ‘whole life careers’ that were constructed from both paid and non-paid work. Third, the concept of ‘human imprint’ is developed to recognise the generational affirmation produced by the transmission of craft practices.
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