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Fair Trade and Social JusticeGlobal Ethnographies$
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Sarah Lyon and Mark Moberg

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780814796207

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814796207.001.0001

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Fair Trade and the Specialty Coffee Market

Fair Trade and the Specialty Coffee Market

Growing Alliances, Shifting Rivalries

(p.28) 2 Fair Trade and the Specialty Coffee Market
Fair Trade and Social Justice

Julia Smith

NYU Press

This chapter examines how fair trade operates in the specialty coffee market. More specifically, it considers how the formally defined (certified) fair trade market is linked to the specialty coffee market and the market consisting of vendors who essentially market what they might call “fairer than fair trade” coffee. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in a coffee-producing community in southern Costa Rica in 1995, 1997–1998, and 2005, the chapter explores how the fair trade market has come to be part of the specialty coffee market, adopting its quality standards and how the fair trade market has influenced both the terms of trade and the rhetoric of the specialty coffee market. It also explores the ways in which various coffee vendors manipulate the content of the conflict between activism and market orientation in the fair trade market to their own advantage in the marketplace of coffee rather than the marketplace of ideas.

Keywords:   fair trade, specialty coffee market, Costa Rica, quality standards, coffee vendors, activism, market orientation, fair trade market

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