Innovation in Indian Handloom Weaving
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionTechnology and culture. 2018, 59 (3), 509-545. 10.1353/tech.2018.0058
Handloom weaving is the second most important livelihood in rural India after farming. Improving handloom technologies and practices thus will directly affect the lives of millions of Indians, and this is similar for many other communities in the global South and East. By analyzing hand-loom weaving as a socio-technology, we will show how weaving communities are constantly innovating their technologies, designs, markets, and social organization—often without calling it innovation. This demonstration of innovation in handloom contradicts the received image of handloom as a pre-modern and traditional craft that is unsustainable in current societies and that one should strive to eliminate: by mechanization and/or by putting it into a museum.