Social interaction on craft fairs

Instances of communality, visibility, and trade



Emneord (Nøkkelord):

craft fairs, marketplaces, arts and crafts, social interaction, collaboration, information, economic action


Although digitalisation has had an impact on the business of fairs, especially during the years of the pandemic, the Covid-19 crisis has clearly shown that social interaction is vital for small businesses, such as craft enterprises. The physical co-presence of craft objects, makers and users as well as the immediateness of personal contact play a major role at craft fairs. Fairs revolve around trade, which is furthered by the many cultural and social aspects that constitute them. We argue that social interaction in marketplaces goes beyond economic transactions and show that face-to-face interactions are essential for building trust and social order. We identify different types of social interaction at craft fairs, all of which are collaborative ‒ fostering a sense of community, developing products and increasing their visibility ‒ in addition to being an economic transaction. This study is based on ethnographic research on craft fairs and craft producers in the field of furniture and garment making. We conclude by arguing that the findings on craft fairs can also be generalised to other cases.


Judith Nyfeler, Seminar of Sociology, SHSS, University of St. Gallen

Dr. Phil. 

Patrik Aspers, University of St. Gallen

Dr. Phil. 


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credit Franziska Heinl/Fidea Design




Hvordan referere

Nyfeler, J., & Aspers, P. (2023). Social interaction on craft fairs: Instances of communality, visibility, and trade . FormAkademisk, 16(4).

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