The Life of Marble: The Experience and Meaning of Work in the Marble Quarries of Carrara



Based on ethnographic research in the marble quarries of Carrara in north Italy, this article offers an experiential interpretation of work and labour. Intended as a critique of more structurally determined accounts of the labour process, the article examines the ways in which the experience and meanings of work can be found in the domain of intersubjectivity, articulated both in the discursive practices and interactions of co-workers, as well as through the everyday embodied activity and lived experience of quarrying itself. The first section deals with the relationship between quarry workers and the natural environment. In the second section I explore the relationship between craft identity, the embodied experience of labour and collective narratives of masculinity.