What are the roles of international tourism and global markets in the economic development of indigenous communities producing traditional "authentic" handicrafts? To what extent do state economic and cultural-political interests intervene in the structuring of cottage-industry markets? Are opportunities to enter the global handicraft market limited to communities "blessed" with indigenous artisan traditions? To answer these questions, the article presents ethnographic and historical evidence from two Costa Rican communities comprising about 1,200 individuals. These communities produce ceramics representing the Chorotega tradition and generate most of their incomes from selling handicrafts. The article contributes to the sociology of markets by documenting the historical contingencies and cultural understandings that facilitate and constrain opportunities in the global economy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cultural Studies
- Sociology and Political Science
- Costa Rica
- Cultural commodities
- Indigenous peoples
- National identity