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

Anderson, Matthew (2009). The British Fair Trade Movement, 1960 - 2000: a new form of global citizenship? University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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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: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Department of History
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on


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