With new markets opening up for goods produced by artisans from all parts of the world, craft commercialization and craft industries have become key components of local economies. Now with the emergence of the Fair Trade movement and public opposition to sweatshop labor, many people are demanding that artisans in third world countries not be exploited for their labor.
Bringing together case studies from the Americas and Asia, this timely collection of articles addresses the interplay among subsistence activities, craft production, and the global market. It contributes to current debates on economic inequality by offering practical examples of the political, economic, and cultural issues surrounding artisan production as an expressive vehicle of ethnic and gender identity.
Striking a balance between economic and ethnographic analyses, the contributors observe what has worked and what hasn't in a range of craft cooperatives and show how some artisans have expanded their entrepreneurial role by marketing crafts in addition to producing them. Among the topics discussed are the accommodation of craft traditions in the global market, fair trade issues, and the emerging role of the anthropologist as a proactive agent for artisan groups.
As the gap between rich and poor widens, the fate of subsistence economies seems more and more uncertain. The artisans in this book show that people can and do employ innovative opportunities to develop their talents, and in the process strengthen their ethnic identities.
Introduction: Facing the Challenges of Artisan Production in the Global Market / Kimberly M. Grimes and B. Lynne Milgram
Democratizing International Production and Trade: North American Alternative Trading Organizations / Kimberly M. Grimes
Building on Local Strengths: Nepalese Fair Trade Textiles / Rachel MacHenry
"That They Be in the Middle, Lord": Women, Weaving, and Cultural Survival in Highland Chiapas, Mexico / Christine E. Eber
The International Craft Market: A Double-Edged Sword for Guatemalan Maya Women / Martha Lynd
Of Women, Hope, and Angels: Fair Trade and Artisan Production in a Squatter Settlement in Guatemala City / Brenda Rosenbaum
Reorganizing Textile Production for the Global Market: Women’s Craft Cooperatives in Ifugao, Upland Philippines / B. Lynne Milgram
Textile Production in Rural Oaxaca, Mexico, and the Complexities of the Global Market for Handmade Crafts / Jeffrey H. Cohen
"Part-Time for Pin Money": The Legacy of Navajo Women’s Craft Production / Kathy M’Closkey
The Hard Sell: Anthropologists as Brokers of Crafts in the Global Marketplace / Andrew Causey
Postscript: To Market, To Market / June Nash
The Body Impolitic is a critical study of tradition, not merely as an ornament of local and national heritage, but also as a millstone around the necks of those who are condemned to produce it.
Michael Herzfeld takes us inside a rich variety of small-town Cretan artisans' workshops to show how apprentices are systematically thwarted into learning by stealth and guile. This harsh training reinforces a stereotype of artisans as rude and uncultured. Moreover, the same stereotypes that marginalize artisans locally also operate to marginalize Cretans within the Greek nation and Greece itself within the international community. What Herzfeld identifies as "the global hierarchy of value" thus frames the nation's ancient monuments and traditional handicrafts as evidence of incurable "backwardness."
Herzfeld's sensitive observations offer an intimately grounded way of understanding the effects of globalization and of one of its most visible offshoots, the heritage industry, on the lives of ordinary people in many parts of the world today.
Prehistoric economic relationships are often presented as genderless, yet mounting research highlights the critical role gendered identities play in the division of work tasks and the development of specialized production in pre-modern economic systems. In Gendered Labor in Specialized Economies, contributors combine the study of gender in the archaeological record with the examination of intensified craft production in prehistory to reassess the connection between craft specialization and the types and amount of work that men and women performed in ancient communities.
Chapters are organized by four interrelated themes crucial for understanding the implications of gender in the organization of craft production: craft specialization and the political economy, combined effort in specialized production, the organization of female and male specialists, and flexibility and rigidity in the gendered division of labor. Contributors consider how changes to the gendered division of labor in craft manufacture altered other types of production or resulted from modifications in the organization of production elsewhere in the economic system.
Striking a balance between theoretical and methodological approaches and presenting case studies from sites around the world, Gendered Labor in Specialized Economies offers a guide to the major issues that will frame future research on how men’s and women’s work changes, predisposes, and structures the course of economic development in various societies.
Contributors: Alejandra Alonso Olvera, Traci Ardren, Michael G. Callaghan, Nigel Chang, Cathy Lynne Costin, Pilar Margarita Hernández Escontrías, A. Halliwell, Sue Harrington, James M. Heidke, Sophia E. Kelly, Brigitte Kovacevich, T. Kam Manahan, Ann Brower Stahl, Laura Swantek, Rita Wright, Andrea Yankowski
Appalachians have always honored craft. Showoff quilts, complicated whittlings, "face jugs," intricate woven coverlets, and the work of famous basketmakers constituted the art of early Appalachia, the life and color of its remote mountain households. By the 1920s, however, the craft tradition was quickly vanishing. This lively, highly personal book recounts the "missionary" effort that preserved the traditional Appalachian craft culture and traces the organization, politics, and economics of later handcraft revival organizations in Southern Appalachia.
Deeply involved in many of the events he describes, Garry Barker has worked in the Appalachian crafts world since the early 1960s. He draws on memories of the leading craftspeople of a bygone era, LBJ's War on Poverty, mushrooming markets for craft products, and the rise of academic crafts training. The Handcraft Revival in Southern Appalachia represents the thoughtful winnowing of Barker's decades of serendipitous experience and disciplined observation, casual conversation and formal interviews, research and collecting, teaching and writing.
The book is the only history of the Appalachian craft movement between 1930 and 1990. As such it will become an essential resource for craftspeople, scholars, and all interested in the Southern Appalachian region. In addition, it constitutes a crucial chapter in the newly emerging history of American craft.