Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Textiles and Clothing

First Advisor

Mary Ann Littrell


The purposes of this study were to understand textile retailers' interactions with artisans in the procurement, development, and production of textile products; describe how they conceptualize tradition; expand scholarly models of tradition; and contribute to a model of the craft production and marketing system;Fieldwork was conducted in Antigua, Guatemala for nearly four months. Data collection methods included participant observation, ecological traverse, interviews, and observations. Short interviews (N = 29) and observations (N = 38) were conducted with informants identified in the ecological traverse. Informants for the long interviews (N = 14) and observations (N = 20) were purposefully drawn from the informants from the large sample. Data were analyzed using open and theoretical coding and constant comparison. Three overarching themes of products, relationships, and tradition, and a grounded theory of tradition emerged;Retailers acquired their textile products using in-house product development, direct purchasing, and consignment. Communication evolved through verbal, visual, and written techniques. They employed production steps of material sourcing, sample making, and testing. Internal and external forces affected change in textile products. Both product exclusivity and quality were concerns for retailers. Textile retailers maintained strong linkages with key individuals. They established a variety of composite relationships on which their businesses were founded;For textile retailers, tradition was composed of characteristics based upon function and meaning, tools and equipment, production techniques, fibers, color, and decorative elements. Retailers conceptualized textile traditions in terms of degree of traditionality that have been visually presented on a series of nine concrete and abstract continua. Concrete continua were guided retailers' daily activities and decision making, while abstract continua influenced retailers' shop foci, missions, and marketing strategies. Concrete and abstract continua were interdependent as retailers negotiated between the continua, their own beliefs about tradition, and the goals of their businesses. Retailers' relationships served to foster their beliefs about tradition;The decomposition of tradition into its constituent characteristics and retailers' conceptualization and negotiation of tradition in their textile products are important contributions toward understanding the complex phenomenon of tradition. The role of textile retailers in the craft production and marketing system expands knowledge about individuals who participate in an increasingly global world market for textile crafts.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Josephine Maria Moreno



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

242 pages