The Darjeeling Distinction
Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India (California Studies in Food and Culture #47)
Other Editions of This Title:
Nestled in the Himalayan foothills of Northeast India, Darjeeling is synonymous with some of the finest and most expensive tea in the world. It is also home to a violent movement for regional autonomy that, like the tea industry, dates back to the days of colonial rule.
In this nuanced ethnography, Sarah Besky narrates the lives of tea workers in Darjeeling. She explores how notions of fairness, value, and justice shifted with the rise of fair-trade practices and postcolonial separatist politics in the region. This is the first book to explore how fair-trade operates in the context of large-scale plantations.
Readers in a variety of disciplines—anthropology, sociology, geography, environmental studies, and food studies—will gain a critical perspective on how plantation life is changing as Darjeeling struggles to reinvent its signature commodity for twenty-first-century consumers. The Darjeeling Distinction challenges fair-trade policy and practice, exposing how trade initiatives often fail to consider the larger environmental, historical, and sociopolitical forces that shape the lives of the people they intended to support.
Praise For The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India (California Studies in Food and Culture #47)…
— Mountain Research and Development
"This richly detailed ethnography provides unique and important insights into the 21st century plantation economy.; Impressive field work.""
— International Journal of Comparative Sociology
"Engaging . . . The Darjeeling distinction is an important critique . . . a vital and timely comment on the burgeoning ethical trade."
— Social Anthropology
"Extensive research . . . intriguing; Besky offers insightful solutions."
"Besky has pushed forward several debates in sociology, anthropology, geography, and economics about the promises and perils of globalization . . . impressive theoretical analysis . . . essential reading."
— Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal
"An excellent example of local ethnography . . . an important contribution."
— American Ethnologist
"The Darjeeling Distinction is a brilliant and entertaining book. . . . Its accessible and narrative style will surely appeal to a wide audience."
— Alegra Laboratory
"This is an important book and one of the very few to really understand that Fair Trade is refracted through local processes, ideas, and politics. . . . It has an important and sober message to impart."
— Review of Agricultural & Environmental Studies
"An important book and one of the very few to really understand that Fair Trade is refracted through local processes, ideas, and politics and needs to be understood in that light. It has an important and sober message to impart."
— Review of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Studies
University of California Press, 9780520277397, 264pp.
Publication Date: November 23, 2013