The culture of production: Aesthetic choices and constraints in culinary work1

Gary Alan Fine*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The creation of objects of “aesthetic value” is not merely a topic of philosophical speculation, but is a distinctly sociological activity. Each occupation maintains a sense of superior production (an “occupational aesthetic”) that is not reducible to organizational demands. This perspective extends the production of culture approach that sees art as being like all work, suggesting, in contrast, that all work is like art. An aesthetic component to work is reflected in the desire to produce objects (or perform tasks) so as to demonstrate the competence of the worker, as exemplified in a case study of work in four restaurant kitchens. The production of quality is not unbounded, as client demands, organizational efficiency, and the organization’s resource base have effects. The centrality of an aesthetic orientation depends upon the market niche of one’s organization, career stage in the occupation, and the nature of the work task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Anthropology of Organisations
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9781351894869
ISBN (Print)9780754625957
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'The culture of production: Aesthetic choices and constraints in culinary work1'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this