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What does it mean to do fair trade? Ontology, praxis, and the "Fair for Life" certification system

Smith, Alastair 2013. What does it mean to do fair trade? Ontology, praxis, and the "Fair for Life" certification system. Social Enterprise Journal 9 (1) , pp. 53-72. 10.1108/17508611311330000

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Abstract

The article discusses dynamics of interpretation concerned with what it means to do fair trade. Moving beyond the tendency to see heterogeneous practices as parallel interpretations of a separate concept – usually defined with reference to the statement by F.I.N.E – the paper seeks to provide an ontological account of the subject by drawing on theories of language, and John Searle’s notion of “institutional facts”. In seeking to establish the value of interpreting discourse and practice as mutually constitutive of the fair trade concept itself, the paper applies this alternative theoretical framework to both an historical account of fair trade movement and critical analysis of a new alternative certification programme: Fair for Life. Overall, analysis compliments political economy explanations for alternative fair trade approaches with a deeper theorisation of how such competition plays out in linguistic constructions and the wider understanding of the fair trade concept itself: a dynamic that, it is argued, will play a significant role in dictating the nature and therefore impact of fair trade governance, both now and in the future.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 1750-8614
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2019 09:05
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/46270

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