By Sarah Besky
Nestled within the Himalayan foothills of Northeast India, Darjeeling is synonymous with many of the best and costliest tea on the earth. it's also domestic to a violent circulation for nearby autonomy that, just like the tea undefined, dates again to the times of colonial rule.
In this nuanced ethnography, Sarah Besky narrates the lives of tea employees in Darjeeling. She explores how notions of equity, worth, and justice shifted with the increase of fair-trade practices and postcolonial separatist politics within the quarter. this is often the 1st ebook to discover how fair-trade operates within the context of large-scale plantations.
Readers in quite a few disciplines—anthropology, sociology, geography, environmental experiences, and nutrients studies—will achieve a severe point of view on how plantation existence is altering as Darjeeling struggles to reinvent its signature commodity for twenty-first-century shoppers. The Darjeeling contrast demanding situations fair-trade coverage and perform, exposing how alternate tasks frequently fail to think about the bigger environmental, ancient, and sociopolitical forces that form the lives of the folks they meant to aid.
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Additional info for The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India
It takes about three kilograms of green leaf to make one kilogram of processed tea. Women in Darjeeling are keenly aware of the irony that they produce some of the world’s most expensive tea yet get paid a miniscule fraction of what this tea fetches abroad. They also express frustration with the swaths of fields of verdant green bushes that produce nothing edible. At the same time, most workers are voracious consumers of broken-leaf Darjeeling tea, which they receive in rations and buy in the local market.
Aside from the obvious differences in land tenure, the way in which the fair-trade premium is distributed is perhaps the most obvious way that fair trade functions differently on plantations. 68 The distribution is not left to plantation laborers themselves. Fair-trade prices and premiums, which are folded into the exchange value of certified products, render a conceptual economic link between producers and consumers. But on Indian tea plantations, the “producers” include not just workers but also plantation owners.
Anthropologists and other social scientists frequently qualify the term. 46 The predominance of these qualifiers raises the question of how (and indeed whether) anthropologists might theorize in general about justice. One way to do this, I argue, is to examine how different sets of actors do justice. Ideas of justice (explicitly articulated or not) undergird all of the phenomena with which I am engaged in this book. An emphasis on how proponents of GI, fair trade, and Gorkhaland do justice links the question of what people who see themselves as involved in these movements for justice desire to the question of what actions they take.
The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India by Sarah Besky