The status of women weavers as heritage bearers: Accounts of social transformation and empowerment in the province of Canchis, Cuzco, Peru

Avanza, Giulia (2021) The status of women weavers as heritage bearers: Accounts of social transformation and empowerment in the province of Canchis, Cuzco, Peru. The International Journal of Intangible Heritage, 16. pp. 78-88. ISSN 1975-3586

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UNESCO includes heritage textile arts and the specific skills and knowledge required for their production among the traditional crafts that constitute the intangible cultural heritage of humanity. This is due to the significant links that exist between weaving traditions, local societal structures and the history and shared memories of local communities. This article, which originates in extensive fieldwork and ethnographic participant observation in the Canchis province, in the region of Cuzco, Peru, will illustrate the tradition of loom textile-making in the area, highlighting the interdependence among intangible cultural heritage, traditional ecological knowledge and local socio-economic dynamics. A number of observed relevant factors affecting the status of women weavers as heritage bearers (rigid social structures, familial organisation, relation between genders and institutional support) will be addressed in further detail to shed light on the reciprocal interactions and the tensions between cultural preservation and social inequality in relation to heritage textile art, and to reflect on the role of female weavers, on their working conditions and on their autonomy and social status within and outside their communities of origin. In the context of pressing modernisation and threatening homogenisation of production, this article identifies a number of conditions that contribute to the resilience of this form of intangible cultural heritage, preserving this creative legacy while empowering women to overcome detrimental social dynamics.

Item Type: Article
Cultural Property: Cachis, Cuzco, Peru
Keywords: crafts, craftsmanship, weaving, women, social inequality, empowerment, Andes, Peru, cultural expression, creative legacy, traditional ecological knowledge, resilience
Subjects: B Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) > 01 Generalities
B Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) > 07 Traditional craftsmanship
B Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) > 08 Traditional knowledge on productive activities, processes and techniques
Depositing User: Mr Jose García Vicente
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2022 22:08
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2022 22:08

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