Handbook of Research on Fair Trade
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Handbook of Research on Fair Trade

Edited by Laura T. Raynolds and Elizabeth A. Bennett

Fair trade critiques the historical inequalities inherent in international trade and seeks to promote social justice by creating alternative networks linking marginalized producers (typically in the global South) with progressive consumers (typically in the global North). The first of its kind, this volume brings together 43 of the foremost fair trade scholars from around the world and across the social sciences. The Handbook serves as both a comprehensive overview and in-depth guide to dominant perspectives and concerns. Chapters analyze the rapidly growing fair trade movement and market, exploring diverse initiatives and organizations, production and consumption regions, and food and cultural products. Written for those new to fair trade as well as those well versed in this domain, the Handbook is an invaluable resource for scholars and practitioners interested in global regulation, multi-stakeholder initiatives, social and environmental certification, ethical labeling, consumer activism, and international development.
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Chapter 11: Fair trade places

Alastair M. Smith


This chapter adopts a phenomenological understanding of ‘place’, as a distinctive coming together of ‘actants’ (humans and their identities, geographical spaces and the material world), thereby imbuing a particular space (more or less bounded or diffuse) with an array of intersubjectively constructed meanings (Agnew 2011). Given that place is therefore socially constructed in the critical realist sense (Danermark et al. 2005), the idea of place employed here explicitly accepts the possibility of multiple interpretations and, therefore, the potential for contestations over meanings and identities. Although the concept of alternative trade, and later fair trade, has been constructed with strong reference to the nature of the practices involved, these have always been embedded in supportive interpretations and senses of place. Fair trade requires the recognition that, far from unfolding within an even plane of empty space, the outcomes of economic interactions are both differentiated by place and contribute to the unique nature thereof. The characteristics of ‘producer countries’ simultaneously differentiate the outcomes of economic activities while also contributing to the very classification of their associated underlying spaces. Building on these imagined geographies, fair trade is therefore part of a longer and broader tradition to structure trade between places in ways that promote increasing levels of both procedural and distributive justice (Trentmann 2007).

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