Apprenticeship or vocational training is a subject of lively debate. Economic historians tend to see apprenticeship as a purely economic phenomenon, as an ‘incomplete contract’ in need of legal and institutional enforcement mechanisms. The contributors to this volume have adopted a broader perspective. They regard learning on the shop floor as a complex social and cultural process, to be situated in an ever-changing historical context. The results are surprising.
The authors convincingly show that research on apprenticeship and learning on the shop floor is intimately associated with migration patterns, family economy and household strategies, gender perspectives, urban identities and general educational and pedagogical contexts.