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Food values: The local and the authentic

in Geert De Neve, Luetchford Peter, Jeffrey Pratt, Donald C. Wood (ed.) Hidden Hands in the Market: Ethnographies of Fair Trade, Ethical Consumption, and Corporate Social Responsibility (Research in Economic Anthropology, Volume 28) Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.53 - 70

Jeffrey Pratt, 2008

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Summary :

Concern about the agro-industrial food system has generated movements, which reconnect producers and consumers, either through alternative distribution networks or through providing histories of each quality foodstuff. Although these movements share a romantic discourse, they have a range of objectives and a more complex relationship to the mainstream than first appears. The article analyses particularly the concept of authenticity, first in representations of food, then more widely as a value which links production and consumption. The material illustrates a wider analysis (in Graeber, Harvey) of the co-existence of monetary and non-monetary value in an economy dominated by the commodity form, and following from this sets out the different judgements, which have been made about the transformative political potential of these movements.