Graham, M. (2013) Thai Silk dot Com: Authenticity, Altruism, Modernity and Markets in the Thai Silk Industry. Globalizations 10(2).
The abstract is below and you can download a pre-publication version here.
The production of silk occupies a unique place in Thai cultural and economic practices. However, the practice is rarely passed on to the younger generation and is widely considered to be a dying craft. In response, influential organizations have proposed use of the internet as a way to reinvigorate the industry and attract new customers. This paper looks at the discourses used to sell silk and the ways that sellers are either framing Thai silk as a traditional craft in need of saving or as an enterprise that efficiently engage with the commercial needs of the global economy. The paper reviews the range of, often problematic, emotions, images and associations used to sell a dying craft. Ultimately, it argues that, in contrast to many of the theorized effects of the internet, it seems to be neither encouraging a mass homogenization or pushing sellers to effectively integrate themselves into global markets.
And a few random pictures from my fieldwork in Thailand: