Introduction to Research on Fair Trade
By Laura T. Raynolds and Elizabeth Bennett
This chapter assesses the field of fair trade studies, synthesizes the Handbook’s major contributions and identifies critical unanswered questions. We introduce and outline the nature of fair trade as concept and grounded practice, explaining rising popular and academic interest in this domain. The chapter explains the volume’s organizing framework and the focus of its four thematic sections: (1) Introduction to Fair Trade, (2) The Fair Trade Movement, (3) The Business of Fair Trade, and (4) Fair Trade and International Development. We identify the major concerns and ongoing debates in each of these four areas as well as key cross-cutting issues. Guiding readers to chapters of special interest, we summarize the central theoretical and empirical contributions and conclusions of each of the Handbook’s 30 chapters and explain how they advance our understanding of fair trade. We close by highlighting major questions for further research.