The Politics and Ecology of Indigenous Folk Art in Mexico

David Carruthers
Publication Date: 
The case of indigenous artisans in Costa Rica trying to succeed in the global markets for handicrafts and international tourism demonstrates that the public narratives of the country's character circulated by their national government and other institutional actors impose severe constraints on artisans and other economic actors.
. Market opportunities and socioinstitutional constraints arise not only from the beliefs that people within a national territory have about themselves but also from the roles that outsiders recognize as appropriate to a people within a given territory. The Costa Rican case suggests that the promises and pitfalls of the NAFTA free trade agreement cannot be understood adequately by solely examining the structural conditions of each country. Instead, the uneven spread of benefits and liabilities will depend, in part, on how nation-states and their subnational communities are framed in the imaginations of the global marketplace.