Commercializing Culture: Artisanry Production and the Wodaabe in Niger

  • Kristin Loftsdottir


WoDaabe images and artisanry products have become increasingly popular in the global market place, following a growing trend of commercialization of culture and tradition of indigenous people. WoDaaBe pastoral nomads in the Sahel area of Niger lost a majority of their herds in the Sahel droughts in the 1960s and 1980s. This has led many of them to seek work in the cities. Some WoDaaBe have responded to interest in their culture by producing and selling items to tourists, thus finding new ways through popular culture industry to adapt to a changing world. Drawing upon theories of globalization, the discussion emphasizes that even though it is misleading to characterize the WoDaaBe artisanry as simply a process of homogenization, it is also necessary to establish that, as all productions relate to `culture', they are historically constituted and connected with power and subordination.

(The Journal of Cultural Studies: 2001 3(2): 316-332)

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eISSN: 1595-0956