Child labour and cocoa: Whose voices prevail?

Amanda Berlan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide ethnographic data on the lives of children working in cocoaproducing communities in Ghana and to illustrate the importance of contextualisation in understanding the phenomenon of child labour. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on anthropological fieldwork carried out in Ghana using participant observation and childfocused participatory research methods. It also includes an analysis of media sources and policy documents. Findings – It shows that the children involved in this study worked freely and willingly on family cocoa farms. It also shows that research and interventions must be contextbased and childcentred as forms of child labour in cocoa are not uniform across West Africa. Research limitations/implications – Unfortunately, the scope of the paper does not allow for a discussion of recent interventions and progress relating to child labour in the West African cocoa industry. Originality/value – This paper challenges many of the assumptions made about child labour in cocoa and offers new insights into the lives of children in these communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-151
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Children (age groups)
  • Cocoa
  • Ghana
  • Labour force

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Child labour and cocoa: Whose voices prevail?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this