Ethical Consumption in a Fair Trade Town: Global Connections in Local Places
Much of the literature on ethical consumption focuses on the potential of individual actions, such as buying fair trade products, to produce large-scale change. This thesis instead examines collective actions by exploring the discourses and interactions of alternative food movements in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Drawing on interviews with members of these networks, it argues that ethical consumption initiatives encourage the circulation of particular social and ethical values through the community. Community identity and place are made and marketed through networks of value that foster responsibility in and for the food system. Collective identity alters daily routines of consumption in order to channel benefits back into the local economy. A sense of place that includes responsibility for the food system sometimes leads to collective political action, but it also creates tension among and between different organizations and individuals who make claims to “the local” as a moral, social and geographical space.