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Craft and Social Inquiry

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Crafting and craft objects intersect with all cultural domains: economic, social, political, and rituall. Craft goods are social objects that assume an importance beyond household maintenance and reproduction. They signify and legitimize group membership and social roles, and become reserves of wealth, storing intrinsically valuable materials and the labor invested in their manufacture. Specialized craft producers are actors involved in the creation and maintenance of social networks, wealth, and social ...

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Overview

Crafting and craft objects intersect with all cultural domains: economic, social, political, and rituall. Craft goods are social objects that assume an importance beyond household maintenance and reproduction. They signify and legitimize group membership and social roles, and become reserves of wealth, storing intrinsically valuable materials and the labor invested in their manufacture. Specialized craft producers are actors involved in the creation and maintenance of social networks, wealth, and social legitimacy. Artisans and consumers must accept, create or negotiate the social legitimacy of production and the conditions of production and distribution, usually defined in terms of social identity. The nature of that process defines the organization of production and the social relations of production systems and explanations for their form and dynamic are destined to be unidimensional and unidirectional, lacking in key elements of social process and social behavior. This volume addresses the questions of artisan identify, social identify, and what these inquiries contribute to understandings about social organization and economic organization.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Cathy Lynne Costin is Professor of Anthropology at California State University, Northridge. Her research areas are Craft production and specialization, divisions of labor, gender, political economy and social inequality, evolution of complex society, exchange Andean, South America, ceramics, textiles, and protection of cultural property.

Rita P. Wright is Professor of Anthropology at New York University. She studies urbanism; state formation; gender relations; the ancient Near East; and South Asia.

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Table of Contents

Contributors

Preface

I. Introduction

Introduction: Craft and Social Identity
Cathy Lynne Costin

II. Dimensions of Artisan Identity

Crafts, Chiefs, and Commoners: Production and Control in Precontact Hawai'i
Barbara Lass

Craft Specialization, Gender, and Personhood among the Post-conquest Maya of Yucatan, Mexico
John E. Clark and Stephen D. Houston

Craft Production and Social Identity in Northwest Mesopotamia
Patricia Wattenmaker

Crafting Social Identity in Ur III Southern Mesopotamia
Rita P. Wright

Elite Maya Pottery and Artisans as Social Indicators
Dorie Reents-Budet

III. Crafting and the Social Order

Crafting Cultural Identity in Hunter-Gatherer Economies
Kenneth E. Sassaman

Social Identity and Specialization among Toro Iron Workers in Western Uganda
S. Terry Childs

Housewives, Chosen Women, Skilled Men: Cloth Production and Social Identity in the Late Prehispanic Andes
Cathy Lynne Costin

IV. Avenues to Presige and Power

The Multiple Identities of Aztec Craft Specialists
Elizabeth M. Brumfiel

Ritual Craft Specialists in Middle Range Societies
Katherine A. Spielman

Identity and Social Action among South Indian Craft Producers of the Vijayanagara Period
Carla M. Sinopoli

Index

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