The two faces of Janus: A postcolonial approach of the fair trade ambivalence
Blanchet, Vivien (2011), The two faces of Janus: A postcolonial approach of the fair trade ambivalence, 27th EGOS Colloquium, 2011-07, Gothenburg, Suède
TypeCommunication / Conférence
External document linkhttp://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00676060
Conference title27th EGOS Colloquium
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Abstract (EN)This article studies the ambivalence of the relation between fair trade and colonization, through a postcolonial reading inspired by the Homi Bhabha’s work. I show FT is both a rupture and a perpetuation of the international order it criticises. In this respect, fair trade is redefined as a third-space which generates innumerable cultural encounters between the colonizer and the colonized. These encounters are understood as a colonial process. Analytically, it can be broken down into three stages. (i) Northern fair trade actors produce an Other: “the small producer”. (ii) Then, they incite him to mimic Northern canons. (iii) Finally, mimicry implies hybridity. Each stage is ambivalent: this colonial process generates both domination and resistance. I use the Roman god Janus as a metaphor to capture this ambivalence. He is the god of gates and bridges. He is represented with two faces: one is turned to look at past and east, the other is turned to look at future and west. Thus, Janus symbolizes the interface between two contradictory worlds. This article aims to make three contributions. First, it breaks with the essentialist and binary view of fair trade which divides actors into geographical categories (North vs. South). Second, it makes the criticism addressed to globalization more reflexive. In this respect, this paper also highlights the postcoloniality of corporate social responsibility and sustainable development. Third, it points out the complicity of management in the colonial process.
Subjects / KeywordsPostcolonial; Fair Trade; ambivalence; mimicry; otherness; hybridity; corporate social responsibility
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