Tactical Ethics: how the discourses of Fairtrade and Black Economic Empowerment change and interact in wine networks from South Africa to the UK
This paper explores the spaces and power relations of ethical foodscapes. Ethics can offer a commodity a valuable unique selling point in a competitive marketplace but managing the changeable and multiple motivations for stakeholder participation throughout the commodity chain in order to utilise this opportunity is a complex negotiation. Through exploring the spaces and relations within three South African–UK ethical wine networks, the discursive tactics used to sustain these are uncovered. The discourses of Fairtrade, Black Economic Empowerment and organics are highly adaptive, interacting with each other in such a way as to always be contextually appealing. This ‘tactical mutability’ is combined with ‘scales of knowing’, which, this paper argues, are essential for network durability. ‘Scales of knowing’ refers to the recognition by stakeholders of the potential for different articulations of a discourse within the network, which combines with ‘tactical mutability’ to allow for a scalar, contextual and ’knowing’ (im)mutability to ensure the discourse’s continued appeal. However, even when one discourse is the ‘lead’ it always folds within it linkages to other ethical discourses at work, suggesting that ethical practice is mutually supportive discursively. This means that at the producer end ethical interactions may offer more capacity to enact genuine transformation than the solo operations of a discourse.
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2012 Tactical Ethics: how the discourses of Fairtrade and Black Economic Empowerment change and interact in wine networks from South Africa to the UK Geoforum 43 1121-1130