Social capital and knowledge transmission in the traditional Kente textile industry of Ghana
- Information Research
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Information Research: an international electronic journal, 2017, 22 (4)
- Issue Date:
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The purpose of this study was to understand how social structures and social relations facilitate the flow of knowledge within the world of Kente, the traditional cloth of Ghana. A case study method was adopted wherein data was collected using semi-structured interviews with fourteen participants who each had expert knowledge about Kente from a specific perspective through their role as weavers, sellers, fashion designers, tailors, and consumers. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the interview data, using social capital theory as a lens to understand knowledge flow. Knowledge about Kente flows from the family, mostly from the elders in the family. It is part of the socialisation process of individuals in the community and tied up with their identity as Ghanaians. Some formal education, apprenticeships, and tourism helped in transferring knowledge about Kente to young people in the community and other people in Ghana and abroad. Social capital is central to the flow of Kente related knowledge. Elements of social structures and social relations, such as socialisation, family, social technologies and social interactions are the loci of knowledge flow. Social media and online social interactions are also increasingly important now in this knowledge flow, even within traditional societies such as in Ghana.
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