Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Dr. John C. Weaver


The regime of apprenticeship, which provided both the foundation for a craft culture and basis of the social construction of skill in a pre-industrial society, was gradually supplanted by a regime of prescribed and systematic instruction. The development of technical education initiated a process which, over time, tied apprentices and workers more directly into the formal institutions of the community and the state to an extent that surely would have perplexed mid-nineteenth century observers. The process would eventually give employers and the state greater leverage in controlling the outcome of skills training at the same time as economic and technological transformations were giving employers greater leverage to control the mechanisms and procedures of production.

Formal technical education, like the public school itself, was a product of modernity. From the 1800s through the early 1900s, the normal sites of technical education and skills training underwent a fundamental shift. The setting moved from the workplace to the classroom. Responsibility shifted from skilled proprietors to the state. The authority to refine, to replicate and to define the value of skills shifted from private artisans to public policy makers. The cultural relationships embodied in skills replication shifted from personal paternalism to impersonal bureaucracy.

What had been, in the pioneer past, a predominately private domain was becoming increasingly a public responsibility at the behest of educators, business and labour leaders alike. Gradually, through the development of organized technical education, a less formalized 'apprenticeship model of education' was transformed into a formal 'educational model of apprenticeship.' This dissertation traces that development through the lens of an ongoing dialectic between competing conceptions of technical education: culture and utilitarianism.

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