Kuna Crafts, Gender, and the Global Economy

Paperback | January 1, 1995

byKarin E. Tice

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Brightly colored and intricately designed, molas have become popular with buyers across the United States, Europe, and Japan, many of whom have never heard of the San Blas Kuna of Panama who make the fabric pictures that adorn the clothing, wall hangings, and other goods we buy.

In this study, Karin Tice explores the impact of the commercialization of mola production on Kuna society, one of the most important, yet least studied, social changes to occur in San Blas in this century. She argues that far from being a cohesive force, commercialization has resulted in social differentiation between the genders and among Kuna women residing in different parts of the region. She also situates this political economic history within a larger global context of international trade, political intrigue, and ethnic tourism to offer insights concerning commercial craft production that apply far beyond the Kuna case.

These findings, based on extensive ethnographic field research, constitute important reading for scholars and students of anthropology, women's studies, and economics. They also offer an indigenous perspective on the twentieth-century version of Columbus's landing—the arrival of a cruise ship bearing wealthy, souvenir-seeking tourists.

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From Our Editors

In this study, Karin Tice explores the impact of the commercialization of mola production on Kuna society, one of the most important, yet least studied, social changes to occur in San Blas in this century. She argues that the intersection of class, gender, and ethnicity is historically specific, changes over time, and defines Kuna wome...

From the Publisher

Brightly colored and intricately designed, molas have become popular with buyers across the United States, Europe, and Japan, many of whom have never heard of the San Blas Kuna of Panama who make the fabric pictures that adorn the clothing, wall hangings, and other goods we buy.In this study, Karin Tice explores the impact of the comme...

From the Jacket

In this study, Karin Tice explores the impact of the commercialization of mola production on Kuna society, one of the most important, yet least studied, social changes to occur in San Blas in this century. She argues that the intersection of class, gender, and ethnicity is historically specific, changes over time, and defines Kuna wome...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 8.98 × 6.05 × 0.6 inPublished:January 1, 1995Publisher:University Of Texas Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292781377

ISBN - 13:9780292781375

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments1. Introduction2. Theoretical Framework3. Traveling to San Blas4. Political Economy of San Blas5. Mola Commercialization6. Mola Production, Exchange, and Use7. Kuna Women Organize8. Tourism and Molas on Carti-Sugtupu9. The Mola Cooperative on Tupile10. Molas and Middlemen in Mansucun: A Discussion of Female-supported Households11. Insights from San Blas: Crafts, Gender, and the Global EconomyAppendix: Methodology NotesGlossary of Kuna and Spanish TermsReferencesIndex

From Our Editors

In this study, Karin Tice explores the impact of the commercialization of mola production on Kuna society, one of the most important, yet least studied, social changes to occur in San Blas in this century. She argues that the intersection of class, gender, and ethnicity is historically specific, changes over time, and defines Kuna women's and men's relationships, to the global economy and to political forces at work within that context.

Editorial Reviews

This book is the first effort to describe molas in full sociocultural context, systematically dealing with the history, symbolism, production, distribution, and even linkages to politics and kinship, as well as economics.... This book should equally interest those who care about gender studies, economic development, handicrafts, and Latin American indigenous or peasant populations.