The decline of handicraft production since 1970 in Nigeria
MA in International and Intercultural Management
This capstone explores the causal factors behind the decline of indigenous knowledge in post-colonial, post-war Nigeria. It is a case study looking at the Igbo tribe in Southeast Nigeria and how their traditional handicrafts have changed in style and production since the end of both colonization in 1960 and the Biafran War in 1970. Preliminary research, mostly literary, led to two primary causal factors; globalization and loss of community self-esteem. Thirteen interviews were conducted in Nigeria with artisans of the Igbo tribe and two other tribes, as well as with local Igbos living in Enugu State. Most all interviewees were in agreement that the influx of modern products replacing traditional crafts has significantly led to their decline. Other causal factors mentioned during the interviews included a corrupt government, changing cultural and societal values and a lack of importance placed on culture within the education system. However, the decline and eventual loss of these handicrafts is not completely irreversible. There are several changes that can be made and options available to the Igbos to help them preserve their traditional handicrafts despite trends to the opposite. What is most important to preserve them is a desire and will to undertake those measures necessary, and an understanding of the role handicrafts have within Igbo culture.
Talaga, Rebecca J., "The decline of handicraft production since 1970 in Nigeria" (2003). Capstone Collection. 1780.