Making Trade Fair: An Assessment of the Contribution of Fair Trade to a New Paradigm and Discourse on Human Rights, Development and Global Trade

Ida Ljunggren

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


Fair Trade emerged as a reaction to the socio-economic crisis among commodity dependent producers in the South, caused by deteriorating terms of trade and iniquitous rules and practices in agricultural trade. The majority of the producers live in extreme poverty, deprived of their social and economic rights. Today it is increasingly recognised, that human rights protection has become a global responsibility. This thesis clarifies the objectives, practices and theoretical heritage of Fair Trade and assesses its integration in society on a micro, meso, macro and meta level. By scrutinising the genealogies, strengths and weaknesses of the interdependent paradigms of liberal market economy, development and human rights, it is possible to comprehend the contribution of Fair Trade to a new discourse on freedom, human rights and economic rationality in a globalised world. Fair Trade has evolved from an exclusive pioneer movement in the 1960’s into a broadly recognised concept today; a development that can be divided into three phases. While increasingly gaining ground in society, state and market, Fair Trade appears to be in transition to a potential fourth consolidating phase. Due to the complexity of the field, the approach taken is multidisciplinary and focuses on the dynamics between structures and actors, discourses and paradigms, and builds on the theoretical contributions of Karl Polanyi and Amartya Sen.

UddannelserInternationale Udviklingsstudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato1 jan. 2004
VejledereWolfgang Benedek


  • Polanyi
  • human rights
  • Development
  • Global Trade
  • Sen
  • Fair trade