Will the fair trade revolution be marketised? Commodification, decommodification and the political intensity of consumer politics

Lekakis, Eleftheria J (2012) Will the fair trade revolution be marketised? Commodification, decommodification and the political intensity of consumer politics. Culture and Organization, 18 (5). pp. 345-358. ISSN 1475-9551

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Abstract

This paper brings to the fore a scrutiny of the politicisation of commodities in an exploration of the political promises and potential of ethical or political consumerism and specifically the case of fair trade. The analysis is informed by interviews with ethically consuming citizens which illuminate their concerns, certainties and confusions. I discuss consumer agency in relation to decommodification and branding as detrimental to the political qualities of the movement where the selling of fair trade is viewed through the prism of brand trust and the symbolised political quality of the commodity. Similarly, there is a corporate ‘veiling’ of consumer politics where the commercial sense which mainstream fair trade commodities enjoy is being manipulated through strategies of co-branding, thus signalling further distance from the older radical character of fair trade political consumerism. Thus, the decommodification of fair trade products is perhaps at the expense of the commodification of fair trade consumer politics.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: fair trade; commodification; decommodification; ethical consumption; political consumerism; branding
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labour > HD0028 Management. Industrial Management > HD0060 Social responsibility of business
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0831 Social change
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Depositing User: Eleftheria Lekakis
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2013 06:56
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2017 02:57
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/46152

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