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The British Fair Trade Movement, 1960 - 2000: a new form of global citizenship?

Anderson, Matthew (2009)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This thesis is concerned with the development of a Fair Trade social movement in Britain between 1960 – 2000. It situates the analysis of Fair Trade within the context of historical debates about political consumption. It examines the role of the ethical consumer as a political activist and questions whether Fair Trade has led to a new understanding of the meaning of global citizenship. It is argued that contemporary questions about the limitations of Fair Trade as a model for international development should be grounded in an informed understanding of the intellectual and applied origins of the movement. Revisiting the origins of Fair Trade is not only an important academic exercise but provides the movement with an opportunity to reassess its core values. The intellectual origins of the movement are considered with reference to the nineteenth century thinkers and consumer campaigns. Although building on the politics of the past, the messages and organisational structure of Fair Trade represented a new and distinctly modern approach to campaigning more closely aligned with the ‘new social movements’ than traditional labour or consumer politics. The roles of the main actors are explored, including development non-governmental organisations, religious groups, consumer organisations, co-operatives and supermarkets. While acknowledging the consumer at the heart of the Fair Trade movement, it is argued that what is needed is a more nuanced approach to our understanding of ethical consumerism.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Hilton, Matthew
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:School of History and Cultures, Department of Modern History
Keywords:fair trade, alternative trade, ethical consumer, political consumption, moral economy, social movements
Subjects:HF Commerce
HC Economic History and Conditions
D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:512
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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