Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The social life of weaving in a contemporary Navajo community
by Ahlberg Yohe, Jill, Ph.D., The University of New Mexico, 2008, 229; 3346739
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation research centers on the social dimensions of weaving in the Navajo community of St. Michaels, Arizona. This ethnographic study finds that items and knowledge associated with weaving are used by a variety of community members in a range of settings in both established and novel ways. The theoretical framework for this study is guided by important studies in the anthropology of exchange, earlier ethnographies of Navajo society, and by local categories of thought and meaning. Meaningful practices related to weaving, including the circulation of weaving-related objects and knowledge in contemporary Navajo life, are explored. Ethnographic research reveals how weavers, community educators, and cultural specialists use weaving to instill aspects of Navajo morality and values, cultural knowledge, and appropriate social roles. This dissertation draws attention to particular contemporary social contexts in which the circulation or display of weaving related objects, knowledge, or skills play a central role. This includes how textiles are sold and heirloom tools kept, the transmission of skills through learning to weave, the transfer of knowledge through teachings, and the connection of weaving to the Navajo universe in classrooms, pageants, ceremonies, parades, and in the home.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Oakdale, Suzanne
School: The University of New Mexico
School Location: United States -- New Mexico
Source: DAI-A 70/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: American studies, Cultural anthropology, Design, Native American studies
Keywords: Arizona, Cultural anthropology, Exchange, Native American, Navajo, Practice, Social life, Weaving
Publication Number: 3346739
ISBN: 9781109017687
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