Crafts in the World Market

The Impact of Global Exchange on Middle American Artisans

Edited by June C. Nash

Subjects: American Labor History
Series: SUNY series in the Anthropology of Work
Paperback : 9780791410622, 264 pages, August 1993
Hardcover : 9780791410615, 264 pages, August 1993

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Table of contents

Figures and Tables


1. Introduction: Traditional Arts and Changing Markets in Middle America
June Nash

2. Weaving in the Fast Lane: Class, Ethnicity, and Gender in Zapotec Craft Commercialization
Lynn Stephen

3. Craft Commodity Production, Market Diversity, and Differential Rewards in Mexican Capitalism Today
Scott Cook

4. Coyotes and Culture Brokers: The Production and Marketing of Taxco Silverwork
Gobi Stromberg-Pellizzi

5. Mexican Museums in the Creation of a National Image in World Tourism
Flora S. Kaplan

6. Maya Household Production in the World Market: The Potters of Amatenango del Valle, Chiapas, Mexico
June Nash

7. "That we may serve beneath your hands and feet": Women Weavers in Highland Chiapas, Mexico
Christine Eber and Brenda Rosenbaum

8. Belts, Business, and Bloomingdale's: An Alternative Model for Guatemalan Artisan Development
Tracy Bachrach Ehlers

9. Discontinuous Warps: Textile Production and Ethnicity in Contemporary Highland Guatemala
Robert S. Carlsen

10. The Guatemalan Refugee Crafts Project: Artisan Production in Times of Crisis
Erica Verrillo and Duncan MacLean Earle




The growing exchange of traditional craft objects in world markets has had a profound impact on the lives of the women and men who produce them. These essays describe how the flow of goods from the industrial centers of the world to the colonies in earlier centuries is now met by a reverse flow as consumers seek the exotic and unique objects of handicraft production in Third World countries. The book explores the paradox of how artisans continue to create traditional objects, yet new sources of wealth and intensified production are transforming their traditional lifeways in areas such as the Oaxaca Valley, the Yucatan, Highland Chiapas, and Guatemala.

June Nash is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the City College and Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is author of From Tank Town to High Tech: The Clash of Community and Industrial Cycles, and co-editor of Women, Men, and the International Division of Labor, also published by SUNY Press.


"What I like most about the book is the elucidation of the multifaceted nature of craft production in Latin America. It offers the reader a telescoping of perspective, from the microscopic factors of individual motivation and reward in craftwork to the macroscopic influence of world market conditions and intercultural perceptions of 'authenticity' and 'quality. ' " — Michael Coy, St. Mary's College of Maryland

"Unlike most ethnographic reports on artisan production in Latin America, this book discusses not only local developments, styles, and practices associated with artisan production, but also their connections with the world economy and the ways in which they affect and modify each other (local production, national, and international market). " — Liliana R. Goldin, The University at Albany, State University of New York