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date: 06 December 2023

Anthropological Perspectives on Fair Tradelocked

Anthropological Perspectives on Fair Tradelocked

  • Sarah LyonSarah LyonUniversity of Kentucky


Fair trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency, and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers. Minimum prices and social premiums linked to fair trade certifications, which require independent audit of the environmental, economic, and social conditions of commodity production and exchange, are integral to the system. Anthropological explorations of fair trade practices emphasize the cultural dimensions, socio-economic conditions, and political economy. Anthropological scholarship explores how experiences of fair trade are diversely influenced by gender; racial and ethnic identities; differences in wealth and resources, education, and geographic location; and political hierarchies and social institutions. The nuanced insights into fair trade impact produced through detailed, ethnographically driven anthropological research ultimately illustrate the limits of social movement-driven, rural-development alternatives and produce empirically informed, practical suggestions for how the current system could be improved. Anthropological expertise is appreciated within the fair trade assemblage, which encompasses development organizations, certification firms, importers, and retailers.


  • Applied Anthropology

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