Konsthantverkare, genus och omvänd ekonomi: Om hinder och möjligheter att agera på konsthantverkets arena

Ann-Katrin Witt

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This dissertation focuses on the possibilities for artist craftsmen or handicrafters to operate their independent small enterprises under the conditions of late-modern society. It describes and analyses the game in the arena of handicraft production. The powerful influence of gender constructions on this game is considered. The theoretical discussion starts with Bourdieus´ theory about fields of cultural production characterised by reversed economy. It then proceeds towards a synthesis with theory about segregation by gender in working life. My analysis of the transcendence of traditional gendered frames by handicrafters who wish to go beyond conventional expectations employs the concept of desire. A combination of quantitative and qualitative methods is used. Empirical material has been gathered by means of 204 questionnaires submitted to handicrafters and members of co-operatives, and interviews with six well-established female handicrafters. The material indicates that women and men develop partly different strategies in the practice of their crafts. This is evident although women to a larger extent combine their handicraft with employment as designers or teachers while men to a larger extent apply professional help with administrative tasks and more routinised phases of the production process. Men who work in co-operatives also generally achieve a considerably higher turnover than women. In addition to the survey results, the views and experiences of six well-established full-time working women are introduced. Their ways of practising their craft are presented here, and their narratives about advantages and disadvantages are analysed. The women's individual stories combine into a collective story about their attempts to find new ways of practising their craft, about how to improve the economical situation of their enterprises, etc. Finally, the study emphasises the personal satisfaction that people in the field of handicraft derive from their work. As a matter of fact, it has been described as an ideal kind of work by sociologists and spokesmen of the craft. Craftspeople themselves suggest that their task is so interesting and stimulating that they continue to carry on for many years regardless of persistent economic difficulties.
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • Sociology
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2005 Jan 28
Print ISBNs91-628-6396-7
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Bibliographical note

Defence details
Date: 2005-01-28
Time: 10:15
Place: Auditoriet, Kulturen i Lund
External reviewer(s)
Name: Trondman, Mats
Title: Professor
Affiliation: Lärarhögskolan, Malmö

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • Sociology of labour
  • sociology of enterprise
  • Sociology
  • Social sciences
  • horisontal and vertical gender segregation
  • habitus
  • self-employment
  • desire
  • reversed economy
  • gender
  • handicraft

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