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Connecting the complex ‘lived’ world(s) of Fairtrade

Herman, A. (2010) Connecting the complex ‘lived’ world(s) of Fairtrade. Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, 12 (4). pp. 405-422. ISSN 1522-7200

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/1523908X.2010.532939


Although certified Fairtrade continues to use discourses of defetishization, its move into mainstream markets has acted to refetishize the consumer–producer relationship through the use of a standardized label, which acts as a substitute for engaged knowledges. Through Fairhills, a South African Fairtrade wine project, this paper explores the contextual complexity on the producer side of the commodity network. By incorporating the national discourse of Black Economic Empowerment into its operations, both in Fairhills and in South Africa in general, Fairtrade has adapted to this context, ensuring its relevance and credibility to stakeholders. However, in the UK, little more information than that commonly associated with Fairtrade is offered to Fairhills consumers. The particular market challenges facing Fairtrade wine in the UK make this negotiation between regulation and representation extremely pertinent. A productive way forward may be to conceptualize commodity fetishism as a continuum rather than a binary particularly when considering the difficult balance required when adding complexity to the targeted message of the existing label. This strategy for the sustainability of Fairtrade may be enhanced by utilizing the micro-level dynamism and adaptability that this paper shows is inherent, and indeed essential, to the durability and transferability of the discourse of Fairtrade.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:34457
Publisher:Taylor & Francis

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