Medieval Craft Guild Case Study

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Medieval craft guilds were exclusive associations recognised by law in exchange for royalties and taxes. Although an important predecessor of forma organisations, they cannot be defined themselves as such. In Coleman’s definition, a formal organisation receives resources ultimately from natural persons. This resources can be invested and divested at choice of people in charge of controlling them. In Medieval craft guilds this was not possible: those willing to work under the guild had to invest all their wealth. The artisans worked toward the common aim of ensuring members’ economic stability at the expense of social welfare. Setting prices and quality standards was one of the key economic characters of craft associations. Guilds policies included…show more content…
Whereas, on a social level, the craft associations aimed at enhancing “the symbolic value of honour”. The honourableness of the guild was preserved through restrictive entrance: whoever was thought to be disreputable was not given the possibility to become a guild member. Being dishonourable, however, was fairly easy: illegitimate children, women, members of specific occupation and their relatives were not accepted as guild members (with the exception of widows of masters which were accepted as second-level master). Above restricting external competition, which was justified by the religious belief that the maximization of profits was a sin, internal rules were also laid down in medieval craft guilds: the aim of these rules was to prevent any inequality among members: rules were enacted so as to attain equality of income among…show more content…
Moreover, craft guilds operated mandatory training programs which consisted of an apprenticeship, followed by a journeymanship and a final examination in order to become a master. The first phase of the training programme, the apprenticeship, consisted of 5 to 9 years of unpaid labor under a master. The second phase was the journeymanship which was similar to the apprenticeship insofar as it consisted of a number of years of daily labour under a master but was different since it was a paid work and also because often guilds mandated journeymen to spend these years travelling between towns. The last stage, which was not found in all the craftsmen guilds was a final examination or the production of a “masterpiece”. Consequently, a full guild license was awarded to the apprentices succeeding in the exam and thus, they were able to work independently and to open their own craft

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