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The adaptive capacity of rural crafts in the face of global challenges

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This article is concerned with the adaptive capacity of craft based on research conducted as part of the Ph.D. The perseverance of Craft in a Local Rural Context. The objective of this PhD research is to explore the ways in which rural craft systems constantly transform their reality.

This research sets out from the idea that craft is a transformative activity that produces goods through traditional technical knowledge and the use of simple tools, and where a collective meaning is expressed in the product. The proposition is that craft stands out as a socio-ecological system, which relates a productive activity (and the necessary natural resources) with the material and immaterial legacy of a rural community. From this perspective, craft can be understood as a social system with mechanisms of a particular perseverance that can face the challenges of global dynamics.

In the article, we review different concepts concerning the adaptive capacity of social systems. Based on the model suggested by Anderies et al. (2004), we analyse the configuration of the socio-ecological artisan system in a rural context and its social structure. Finally, we reflect on the elements that constitute the adaptive capacity of craft in order to elicit the economic and cultural mechanisms of perseverance of craft in rural contexts. Thus the article provides a model of the adaptive capabilities of craft, and this allows craftspeople to change and respond to the disturbances that affect the social, economic and ecological structure based on their technological memory.
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Keywords: adaptive capacity; crafts; culture; perseverance; rural communities; socio-ecological systems

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia.

Publication date: 01 September 2010

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  • The aim of Craft Research is to advocate and promote current and emerging craft research, including research into materials, processes, methods, concepts, aesthetic and style. This may be in any discipline area of the applied arts and crafts, including craft education.

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