This ethnographic study examines the tensions and contradictions between goals of “cultural preservation” and “economic improvement” in a development oriented weaving cooperative based in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Through a nuanced analysis of the ways these goals are manifested in three weaving villages, I argue that they in fact support each other and that it is a discourse of differences that strengthens the organization. By understanding tradition as active and emphasizing collaboration, the Asociación de Artesanos Andinos facilitates this discourse and allows for a more fluid and productive negotiation of these seemingly conflicting objectives.



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