sharing session by Dastakar Andhra

Date: 19 October 2006


The term ‘artisanal’ conveys different things to different people. To some it is an alternative to the mass production paradigm, to others it means something that it overlaid by modernity. One of the layers of meaning it invariably invokes is that of tradition – be it traditional technology, traditional product, or traditional ways of working. The relevance of traditional technology and practice in the modern context is an issue we have to grapple with. The various alternative discourses on modernity have not seriously engaged with traditional technology.


It is in this context that a focus on the handloom industry can give insights, especially in the way in which it has transitioned different markets, across traditional and modern contexts. The key question of how can the artisan and her products be positioned in modern markets can be understood from the perspective of developments in the industry as a whole, the perspectives of enterprise, and of product, and of how it links to socio-cultural contexts. Understanding this is a challenge that forces us to re-examine many of our assumptions – regarding enterprise, innovation, management of value chain, and a whole chunk of socio-cultural and normative issues relegated to the ‘non-market’. It also raises critical questions about forms of knowledge that are in practice spaces, but unheard of in theory, or even policy spaces.


In this meeting, Annapurna, Shyamasundari, Latha Tummuru and Seemanthini Niranjana from Dastkar Andhra will speak about marketing practices in the handloom industry, in an attempt to build value for these practices in non-market spaces.


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