The Paradox of Seeking Justice through Markets
This book presents an ethnographically grounded examination of how fair trade operates in practice, and specifically whether it attains the goals of social justice and environmental sustainability that fair trade advocates identify as the movement's central premises. Drawing on ten case studies, it explores whether fair trade creates the kind of transparent, reciprocal relationships between producers and consumers described in much fair trade advocacy. It also discusses the practical limits of certification-dependent strategies within a neoliberal context in which many states have abandoned their regulatory role and asks whether the producers' organizations required of fair trade participants operate in the democratic, gender-inclusive fashion spelled out as a condition of certification. Finally, the book considers the extent to which fair trade certification operates as a means of governance and control rather than a mechanism of economic and social emancipation.
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