Making space for ethical consumption in the South

Gregson, N. and Ferdous, R. (2015) Making space for ethical consumption in the South. Geoforum, 67, pp. 244-255. (doi: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2015.02.009)

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This paper argues that, given the rapid growth in the middle classes across the Global South, debates about ethical consumption need to be reconfigured to admit these middle classes, not as a problem but as a possibility. It establishes the potential to constitute Southern consumption as a surface of mobilisation for ethical consumption and, through working from the specificities of the South in Bangladesh, demonstrates how within-South framings unsettle and challenge existing North–South understandings of ethical consumption. The paper makes three specific contributions. (1) It shows how North–South conceptual understandings of ethical consumption as political consumption might be reworked to admit the South. (2) Through an examination of the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh it demonstrates the absence of a politics of consumer responsibility amongst the Bangladeshi middle classes, and suggests how a politics of responsibility might be forged, through paying attention to Southern brands and supply chains. (3) Through an examination of the Aarong retail brand of the corporate NGO BRAC, the paper shows that ethical consumption exists in Bangladesh, not as ethical consumption but as ordinary consumption with ethical effects. The paper concludes by considering the wider implications of these findings for furthering academic and practitioner debate.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ferdous, Dr Raihana
Authors: Gregson, N., and Ferdous, R.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Journal Name:Geoforum
ISSN (Online):1872-9398
Published Online:26 February 2015
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.
First Published:First published in Geoforum 67: 244-255
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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