Accepted paper:

"We are the police of our own fields": Vigilantes of Sustainability and Justice at the Margins of a Global Economy.

Author:

Debarati Sen (Kennesaw State University)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper I show how the idea and practice of Fair Trade informs women’s situated empowerment sensibilities in Darjeeling as they participate in their own community’s Fair Trade certification through internal community inspections.

Paper long abstract:

Fair Trade is a market based social justice movement that aims to address the inadequacies of conventional global trade by empowering marginalized producers through creating sustainable links between reflexive Western consumer activists and Southern producers. In its unfolding, Fair Trade has myriad articulations in local communities, ranging from strengthening patriarchal projects of dominating women's labor to becoming a resource for women's activism against such tendencies. In this paper I show how the idea and practice of Fair Trade informs women's situated empowerment sensibilities in Darjeeling as they participate in their own community's Fair Trade certification through internal community inspections. Based on over six years of ethnographic research in Darjeeling, India, I argue that these community certification processes enable women farmers to disassemble and reassemble the tenets of the global Fair Trade initiative to concretize their situated aspirations of economic justice.

panel PE08
Communities of practice in global sustainability