© 2012

Fair Trade and the Citizen-Consumer

Shopping for Justice?


Part of the Consumption and Public Life book series (CUCO)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Kathryn Wheeler
    Pages 14-34
  3. Kathryn Wheeler
    Pages 55-84
  4. Kathryn Wheeler
    Pages 85-110
  5. Kathryn Wheeler
    Pages 141-177
  6. Kathryn Wheeler
    Pages 178-189
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 190-219

About this book


As sales of fair-trade goods explode across the globe, Fair Trade and the Citizen-Consumer provides a timely analysis of the organizations, institutions and grassroots networks behind this growing movement. Drawing on examples from the UK, Sweden and USA, this book moves away from models of individualized consumer choice and instead explores the collective cultures and practices that motivate and sustain fair-trade consumer behaviour. Although the fair-trade citizen-consumer has been called to action and publicly represented as an individual 'voting' in the marketplace, this book reveals how market interventions are editing the choices available to consumers, at the same time as 'Fairtrade Town' consumer networks are flourishing. Offering new and critical insights into the fair-trade success story, this book also contributes to debates about sustainable consumption behaviour and the growth of 'new' forms of political participation and citizenship.


consumption ideology Nation politics

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of EssexUK

About the authors

KATHRYN WHEELER is Senior Researcher at the Department of Sociology, University of Essex, UK. Her research focuses on ethical consumption and moral economies. She is currently working on an ERC-programme exploring 'consumption work and societal divisions of labour' in which she is undertaking comparative research on recycling in the UK and Sweden.

Bibliographic information


'Katy Wheeler offers a thorough and judicious evaluation of the Fairtrade movement and, thereby, a significant contribution to understanding the political potential of ethical consumption.' - Alan Warde, Professor Sociology, University of Manchester, UK

"A thouroughly engaging read ... this book is an accessible and thought-provoking offering that works to engage critically with fair trade rather than merely celebrate it. [The book] offers a critical and timely intervention, drawing attention to the lived realities of fair-trade consumption, and provides a useful platform to inform and stimulate further debate and research." - Cultural Sociology