Fair Trade: Movement and Markets
By Laura T. Raynolds and Nicholas Greenfield
This chapter analyzes the fair trade movement and market, focusing on the complex and contested nature of fair trade institutions, market relations, commodity networks, and production conditions. Our analysis shows how in each of these arenas social movement efforts to promote alternative relational and civic values are repeatedly challenged, but not subsumed, by dominant market forces seeking to advance conventional commercial and industrial interests. We identify major empirical patterns and key tensions in the 1) shifting ideas, practices and institutions associated with fair trade’s recent growth; 2) growing distribution and consumption of largely certified products in mainstream markets; 3) decommodification and simultaneous recommodification of a growing array of fair trade products; and 4) production and export of fair trade products from certified cooperatives and increasingly from large hired labor enterprises. As we conclude, fair trade illuminates the promise and pitfalls in socially regulating global markets, as movement efforts move from social critique to socio-economic construction.