Fair Trade Consumerism as an Everyday Ethical Practice / A Comparative Perspective

Fair Trade is growing continuously; yet very little is known about what drives the consumption of Fair Trade products. This study will focus on moral motives in the widest sense.

What is the fairness of Fair Trade in the eyes of the consumers? How do consumers make sense of Fair Trade? How do they embed buying and using Fair Trade goods into the moralities their everyday practices? On the basis of in-depth interviews with consumers, the study will look into the ways moral selves are constructed and expressed by practices of consumption, what moral sources are tapped into, how consumer accounts reflect or don’t reflect more “official” Fair Trade discourses, and how commodity aesthetics and the pleasures of consumption relate to commodity ethics.

The research will look at Fair Trade in two countries that are often taken as personifying two fundamentally different types of capitalism in Europe. By doing so possible links between distinctive economic and welfare state arrangements and specific alternative economic ethics will be investigated.

Results will facilitate both self-reflection within the Fair Trade movement and the debate on consumption and global justice in general.