Lynne Rienner Publishers Logo

Artisans and Fair Trade: Crafting Development

Mary A. Littrell and Marsha A. Dickson
Artisans and Fair Trade: Crafting Development
ISBN: 978-1-56549-322-3
ISBN: 978-1-56549-321-6
2010/207 pages/LC: 2010017335
A Kumarian Press Book

"A vivid portrayal of the lives and aspirations of women handicraft workers in India.... The MarketPlace story is inspiring, showing how development and business goals can combine in building a more equitable world."—Laura T. Raynolds, Colorado State University

"An inspirational case study of a Fair Trade textile group in Mumbai, set in the context of the broader ethical certification movement. Quantitative and qualitative studies of the artisans' lives emphasizes the impact that collaborative production and direct market access has on these remarkable women."—Charlotte Opal, Fairtrade Labelling Organisations (FLO)

"A thorough, thoughtful, and compelling assessment of the impacts of fair trade practices on the artisans who form its base."—Judy Frater, Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya


After agriculture and tourism, artisan work provides the next most significant source of income in many developing countries. Yet, there is strong disagreement among both politicians and development professionals as to whether the handicraft sector is worthy of investment—and the debate has been hampered by a lack of industry data.

Mary Littrell and Marsha Dickson draw on their eight years of in-depth research on the pioneering fair-trade apparel group MarketPlace: Handwork of India to provide the missing information. Their detailed socioecomic audit of the MarketPlace, informed by interviews with the group’s artisans, managers, and founders, combines the best of quantitative and qualitative methodology to offer a rich and illuminating study of social entrepreneurship.


Mary A. Littrell is professor emeritus of design and merchandising at  Colorado State University. Marsha A. Dickson is professor in the Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies at the University of Delaware.


  • Artisan Enterprise, Fair Trade, and Business Social Responsibility and Accountability.
  • Perspectives for Evaluating Artisan Enterprise.
  • The MarketPlace Story.
  • Daily Life as a MarketPlace Artisan.
  • Capabilities.
  • Economic Livelihood of MarketPlace Artisans.
  • Well-Being. Evaluation of Fair Trade Impacts, Certification and Viability of Artisan Work.