Pradeep Kumar Jena

  Center for the Study of Social Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  New Delhi, India

Received: 13. April 2010. Accepted: 23. December 2010.


Globalization - which refers to the growing integration of societies, economies and cultures around the world, has become one of the most hotly-debated topics and key area of research among the policy makers, statesmen, corporate, politicians and academia respectively over the past few years. As India opens up her doors to the multinationals during the era of economic reform and liberalized market, putting an end to the 'license raj', it is not only the economies that often meet in the global market sphere, but also the people and cultures, which bring a new dimension to the multi-cultural setting. What we can see in present day modern world is that there is always a cross-cultural interaction between the 'local' and 'global' and the much discussed 'global village', is now not just a possibility but a reality despite many contradictions. Talking about Indian Handicrafts, which constitutes a significant segment of the decentralized sector of the economy, its export has reached at a commendable height. Indian folk art and crafts which are the integral parts of the Indian culture and tradition, are in high demand among the western consumers. Again, foreign fashion industry borrows a great deal from Indian appliquéd motifs Saree designs, an ethnic Indian wear. Needless to say, the borders between the world cultures are now eroding out and becoming irrelevant, therefore prompting to call it as a deterritorialized world.

But notwithstanding, the real concern for many of us is that, can the 'local' really meet with the 'global' by truly sustaining its localness? The biggest problem in the Indian Handicraft industry is that the village craftsmen remain concerned that with free trade and mass production, hand-made products from other parts of the world will out price the products of their hard labour. So the basic question arises, is globalization a panacea for every human problems that the mother earth is facing now? With a brief theoretical understanding, this paper looks at globalization's increasing impact on Indian handicrafts and crafts persons. It tries to assess how far globalization serves as an opportunity and threat to the artisans. The role of the government in promoting the crafts and protecting the artists will also be discussed before concluding the paper.


globalization, handicraft, global, local, glocal


JEL:O53, R33

Full paper as pdf version.

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