CARPET WEAVERS AND WEAVING IN THE GLOBAL MARKET: THE CASE OF TURKEY
Berman, Kimberly Ann
The purpose of this study is to examine factors affecting the lives of women who weave carpets in rural Turkey by investigating these questions: 1) Why do rural Turkish women weave carpets? 2) What are the influences of the global market on carpet design? 3) In what ways is the government involved in the weaving industry? Data were collected in Turkey during the summer of 2005 from weavers, university professors, government officials, and carpet dealers. Data collection took place via key-informant interviews, observation of carpets and weaving venues, and gathering statistical information. These data were then analyzed as case studies pertaining to the research questions. The intention of this thesis is to present a picture of some of the factors that impact the lives of rural Turkish women, and how these factors are reflected in the carpets that they weave. These factors include the economy and geographic location of their villages, access to markets and education, and local traditions. The findings of this research suggest that if other income generating activities are available, women seem to be less likely to weave for sale. This also appears to be true if women continue their educations beyond the eighth-grade level. Even so, a tradition of weaving, and the pride and creative outlet associated with being a good weaver may mean that some women will continue to weave for themselves. Also, high-end weaving may be able to generate enough income to be attractive labor even when other opportunities are available. Some women were found to alter traditional designs in order to suit the global market; others were not. This may be due to contact, or lack thereof, with consumers in the global market. The government appears to be withdrawing support from the weaving industry, although changes in policy in anticipation of accession to the EU may strengthen the industry. It seems as though the low-end weaving industry might disappear, but high-quality weaving may continue.
carpet; weaving; Turkey; rural women
dissertation or thesis