The economic importance of textile production from the perspective of the weavers : a case study in Western Timor
Mauchenheimer, Julie Ann
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This thesis focuses on the economic importance of textiles, at a household level, from the perspective of the women who weave them. Much of the data collected to address this central issue derives from research I conducted in a village in Western Timor. During a period of three months, I interviewed families about the gendered division of labor and spoke with weavers about the economics of textiles. In this particular village, most weavers store textiles and sell them when the need for extra income arises or when an opportunity presents itself. Some women, however, take orders to weave or sell textiles to tourists. The national and provincial governments promote the sale textiles to increase these sales and to include women in development plans. Significantly, despite these attempts weavers continue to cite local, traditional methods of selling textiles. To help situate weavers? position in the domestic economy, the utility of several methodological models concerning the gendered division of labor was considered, as well as the applicability of a household strategy to define individuals? economic decisions. The analysis of the data benefits from the use of a model of the domestic sphere which includes reproductive and productive roles found within the household. The interpretation of the data also relies on an understanding of regional history and the characterization of ethnic groups, the local setting and the social importance of Timorese textiles. Drawing from theoretical approaches that incorporate national and international structures and their role in the local setting, this thesis presents various layers of ideology and practice that shape weavers? perspectives in the village. Although these structures all play a role to some degree, weavers? views emphasize the economic importance of textiles in terms of the local, more traditional methods of sales. This research then includes discussions of international and national forces on the local, yet asserts the precedence of the local among these weavers.