Making or marketing a difference? An anthropological examination of the marketing of fair trade cocoa from Ghana

Hidden Hands in the Market: Ethnographies of Fair Trade, Ethical Consumption, and Corporate Social Responsibility

ISBN: 978-1-84855-058-2, eISBN: 978-1-84855-059-9

ISSN: 0190-1281

Publication date: 1 September 2008

Abstract

This chapter contrasts the representation of Third World farmers in Fair Trade marketing campaigns with data drawn from long-term fieldwork involving cocoa producers in Ghana and evidence provided by older anthropological monographs on these communities. In doing so, it practically illustrates the disparity between global assumptions and local perspectives on production and consumption. The key contention underlying this chapter is that the representation of producers as needy, helpless, and disgruntled with multinational corporations is deeply problematic. Such a representation reveals a significant and somewhat concerning discrepancy between the lives of farmers and the narratives displayed in Western campaigns for trade justice. By using fieldwork data and earlier anthropological literature showing the determination, ingenuity, and far-sighted strategies of cocoa farmers in Ghana, this chapter demonstrates that producers in the Third World are not the passive and helpless individuals they are sometimes portrayed as.

Citation

Berlan, A. (2008), "Making or marketing a difference? An anthropological examination of the marketing of fair trade cocoa from Ghana", De Neve, G., Peter, L., Pratt, J. and Wood, D. (Ed.) Hidden Hands in the Market: Ethnographies of Fair Trade, Ethical Consumption, and Corporate Social Responsibility (Research in Economic Anthropology, Vol. 28), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 171-194. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0190-1281(08)28008-X

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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