Women, Craft and the Post Conflict Reconstruction of Kashmir
This thesis contributes towards the knowledge of post conflict crafts of Kashmir and the role women play in this sector. It proposes crafts to be a culturally relevant activity which could generate income for people living in Kashmir. It analyses the impact of the conflict on the crafts of Kashmir from the perspective of the craftspeople. The research is based on fieldwork conducted in Srinagar, Kashmir (2003-2006). Here craftsmen’s groups were studied and a craftswomen’s organisation – Zanana Dastakari was used as a case study. Fieldwork techniques allowed the voices of crafts people to be heard, allowing this study to be conducted from their perspective. Supporting literature was used to place Kashmir within the larger context of crafts, gender and conflict. The research found the crafts of Kashmir to have changed in response to the conflict, the most significant shift being of women joining the crafts sector as stakeholders. Women have selected the area of crafts due to their subjective preferences, which often stem from their identity as Muslim women. This work proposes links between poverty, unemployment and conflict and suggests that culture can play a role in economic development. In Kashmir economic development and reconstruction could be boosted through promotion of this sector. The implications of this research in light of other research indicates a need for deeper understanding of identities and needs of women in conflict zones and the evolution of coping mechanisms used by them to generate sustainable incomes.
- PhD