Kindred spirits: Doing family through craft entrepreneurship
journal contributionposted on 2020-05-01, 11:10 authored by Thomas Thurnell-ReadThomas Thurnell-Read
While there is a tradition of viewing both craftwork and entrepreneurship as characteristically individualistic and autonomous activities, this article examines the way in which social ties of family and kinship are often integral to many entrepreneurial ventures. Instead of a neat divide between ‘separate spheres’, work and home permeate each other in meaningful ways. Drawing on qualitative interviews with 20 workers from UK craft gin distilleries, this article explores how kinship and intimacy are put to work in craft enterprises. Findings show that the involvement of family and kin is vital to the operations of many craft businesses. Working together with spouses and siblings brings benefits and challenges and involves negotiating task and role allocation, often through invoking heteronormative notions of suitability and complementarity. Such concerns are bound up with how family and kin are understood by participants. Their reflections on entrepreneurial kinship involve both narratives of work and visions of a lifestyle which are both familial and entrepreneurial.