Accepted paper:

Organising for 'fair' markets: the case of the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation International


Renita Thedvall (Stockholm University)

Paper abstract:

The Fairtrade Labelling Organisation International (FLO) is currently undergoing a vast expansion both as an actor on the market as well as the organisation in itself. There is ongoing work of defining the organisation in terms of membership, positions and roles needed and the scope of the organisation. The FLO is also constantly redefining its standards and criteria for the fairtrade label. In this process of defining itself and its outcomes the FLO takes an active part in producing images and giving meaning to the idea of 'fair' products. I show how this is done through a process of bureaucratisation in which 'fair' or 'fairness' becomes precisely defined, formalised and made visible. Focus is placed on how the bureaucratic logic (Handelman 2004) of making fairtrade more and more precise and open for scrutiny contributes to particular representations (cf. Knorr Cetina & Bruegger 2002) of 'fair' markets.

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panel W096
Markets, moneys, and mobilities: transnational organizing