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Pathways of transformation or transgression? Power relations, ethical space and labour rights in Kenyan cut flower value chains

Pathways of transformation or transgression? Power relations, ethical space and labour rights in Kenyan cut flower value chains

Nelson, Valerie, Tallontire, Anne, Opondo, Maggie and Martin, Adrienne ORCID: 0000-0001-9305-7302 (2014) Pathways of transformation or transgression? Power relations, ethical space and labour rights in Kenyan cut flower value chains. In: Goodman, Michael K. and Sage, Colin, (eds.) Food transgressions: Making sense of contemporary food politics. Routledge, pp. 15-38. ISBN 978-0754679707

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Abstract

This chapter explores the potential of multi-stakeholder standards initiatives (MSIs) to open up new spaces for engagement between the private sector, trade unions, NGOs and others for dialogue and action to promote labour rights. We focus primarily on an MSI in Kenya, HEBI. MSIs in agri-food chains represent a new form of ethical policy space, which are being created at multiple levels and locations, primarily because of processes at an international level. Through our analysis of the power dynamics in Kenyan cut flowers, we seek to build up an understanding of the politics of specific MSIs, and broader trajectories of transgression into corporate activity and vice versa. Despite momentum leading to increased participation in governance in public policy, the creation of ‘invited’ or ‘claimed spaces’ on their own cannot alter power or change the status quo; in the context of significant power imbalances the potential of MSIs to effect change is severely limited. This is because overarching power relations shape the space – sometimes leading to the sidelining of alternative voices. The private sector is not monolithic and there are divergences of approach, yet ethical sourcing and stakeholder engagement in these spaces is not yet, nor is it likely to lead to a transformation of worker rights. In a context of such significant power inequalities in value chains, more powerful actors tend to control social discourse and material resources, shaping the outcomes of new spaces in their own interests. This will continue to be the case whilst support is lacking for workers, smallholders and local communities to articulate their own narratives about ethics in value chains.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: governance, private standards, sustainability standards, corporate responsibility, power, global value chains
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Livelihoods & Institutions Department
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2018 15:33
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: GREAT c
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/20008

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