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The globalization of production in the world economy has undoubtedly opened-up the markets of Asia to global competition and exchange. All levels of producers and workers have been radically affected. While some have gained employment in offshore transnational enterprises, or migrated to large urban centres for wage work, others have become displaced, finding that their skills and produce are no longer required. Artisans and craft workers have not been immune to the effects of these global economic changes. The main aims of this article are firstly, to briefly review the current literature on artisan labour in Asia and secondly, to identify recent trends in the literature and key areas for future research. Among the questions being raised are the following: What does the current, international literature on artisan production conclude in terms of the globalization and intensification of production? Have these global economic changes impacted evenly on all artisans, regardless of skills and types of craft? What innovations have artisans employed to counteract the deleterious effects of global economic restructuring? Does Asian artisan production have a useful and viable future in the global economy? What industries have, or can, make use of artisan labour? Is there the need (and advantage) for specific skills training and education (in other words, to formalize the skills of the artisans)


Globalization - Artisans - Crafts - Work Inequality - Asia


Dr Tim SCRASE lectures in Sociology at the University of Wollongong, Australia. His research interests are in the areas of globalization, the sociology of development, and the sociology of media and education. His main publications include: Globalization, Culture and Inequality in Asia (edited with T.J.M. HOLDEN and S. BAUM, 2003), Social Justice and Third World Education (1997), and Image, Ideology and Inequality: Cultural Domination, Hegemony and Schooling in India (1993).


This article is based on a conference paper presented at the 2002 conference of the Asia-Pacific Sociological Association in Brisbane, Australia ("Asia-Pacific Societies: Contrasts, Challenges, and Crises").


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