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Tisser la valeur au quotidien. Une cartographie de l’interaction entre humains et textiles andins dans la région de Cusco à l’heure du tourisme du XXIe siècle

Author Cristian TERRY
Director of thesis Irene Maffi
Co-director of thesis
Summary of thesis

What is the current value of Andean textiles? My PhD work seeks to answer this question based on a long- term ethnographic field study (several stays between 2014-2018) in the Cusco region (Peruvian Andes), and an auto-ethnographic and phenomenological approach. This work shows the complex and dynamic character of the multiple values that arise from Andean textiles, and how they vary according to the place, the situation and the person. Promoted, sold, bought, and used on various occasions, these textiles have a plurality of values in everyday life, of which tourism is an integral part. This takes place in a region where tourism is omnipresent, and where Andean textiles participate in the construction of the tourist experience and become souvenirs.

This work is not only limited to the use value of Andean textiles in the Andean communities, which has characterized much of the literature on this subject. My study also focuses on the urban populations and the tourists who buy and use textiles in their daily life, which goes beyond the Andes. My study is also interested in their exchange value, particularly within the tourist market. In this way, my work develops an enlarged mapping of the Andean textiles’ values in the 21st century, based on the different perspectives from the concerned actors and their interactions with textile materiality in various spaces and events. Here, the term “interaction” is understood as an inter-action, or a co-participatory act between humans and textile objects. It is in these inter-actions that we must understand the idea of weaving value on a daily basis. The woven value that is enacted by people with textile materiality can take different forms, and can be through utilitarian, aesthetic, (socio) economic, political, patrimonial, identity and cultural actions, but also through cognitive, sensory, even emotional actions. These values are not necessarily exclusive, and can be mobilized simultaneously, collectively or individually, and are often enrolled in valuation processes. Through its interest in value and its relation to materiality and action, this study aims to contribute to sociological and anthropological works on value and Valuation Studies. It invites us to look at Andean textiles differently, in a way that is both pragmatic and close to the materiality of the objects itself, so as to distinguish itself from the structuralist and semiotic approaches proposed by other works. This invitation includes taking the new material forms of Andean textiles into account, sometimes hybrid- and/or industrial-made, and their character that can be found in multiple locations, both within and outside of the Andes.

Status finished
Administrative delay for the defence 2019