Making or marketing a difference? An anthropological examination of the marketing of fair trade cocoa from Ghana

Amanda Berlan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter contrasts the representation of Third World farmers in Fair Trade marketing campaigns with data drawn from long-term fieldwork involving cocoa producers in Ghana and evidence provided by older anthropological monographs on these communities. In doing so, it practically illustrates the disparity between global assumptions and local perspectives on production and consumption. The key contention underlying this chapter is that the representation of producers as needy, helpless, and disgruntled with multinational corporations is deeply problematic. Such a representation reveals a significant and somewhat concerning discrepancy between the lives of farmers and the narratives displayed in Western campaigns for trade justice. By using fieldwork data and earlier anthropological literature showing the determination, ingenuity, and far-sighted strategies of cocoa farmers in Ghana, this chapter demonstrates that producers in the Third World are not the passive and helpless individuals they are sometimes portrayed as.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHidden Hands in the Market
Subtitle of host publicationEthnographies of Fair Trade, Ethical Consumption, and Corporate Social Responsibility
EditorsGeert De Neve, Peter Luetchford, Jeffrey Pratt, Donald Wood
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9781848550582
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2008
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameResearch in Economic Anthropology
ISSN (Print)0190-1281

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Economics and Econometrics


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