Bridging North / South Divides through Consumer Driven Networks
Scholars and activists have sought to identify avenues for addressing rising global disparities, focusing largely on reconfiguring production. This chapter shifts our focus to ask: How can consumers confront growing inequalities and foster global social justice through their consumption activities? My analysis builds theoretically on political economy approaches to explaining North / South inequalities in production / consumption networks and social movement approaches to explaining the role of consumers and their actions in promoting global social justice. Grounding this analysis empirically in the case of fair trade, I demonstrate the intersection of structural market forces and social movement agency and the promise and pitfalls for consumer driven networks in challenging global inequalities. This chapter explains how fair trade, and Fairtrade International in particular, work to bridge Global North / South divides through consumer / producer networks, identifying the successes, but also the limitations in escaping colonial based trade relations, top-down regulation, corporate dominance, and the privileging of consumer purchasing power.
TO CITE THIS ARTICLE:
2017 Bridging North / South Divides through Consumer Driven Networks Routledge Handbook on Consumption Keller, Margit, Bente Halkier, Terhi-Anna Wilska, and Monica Truninger New York Routledge 167-178