homo faber


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homo faber

literally, ‘man the worker’. The concept of work has undergone dramatic changes from ancient to contemporary societies. In Homeric society work was regarded as a natural part of the fabric of social life. The rich and the poor worked and did not despise manual labour. The unity between work and all aspects of culture was broken in the time of Classical Greece. A dual set of divisions were established between:
  1. work and the rest of life (contemplation, family life, politics, leisure); and
  2. noble and ignoble work. These divisions were exploited and developed by successive social formations in the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the 19th-century and the 20th-century MARX regarded the labour exacted under the capitalist system of production as necessarily alienating. It did not satisfy the worker's innermost need for self-actualization and co-operation with the rest of society. At the same time Marx maintained that the homo faber model provided the most appropriate approach to understanding human affairs as through work men (and women) make themselves. Compare HOMO LUDENS.