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Darjeeling ReconsideredHistories, Politics, Environments$
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Townsend Middleton and Sara Shneiderman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199483556

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199483556.001.0001

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Women, Fair Trade Tea, and Everyday Entrepreneurialism in Rural Darjeeling

Women, Fair Trade Tea, and Everyday Entrepreneurialism in Rural Darjeeling

(p.240) 11 Women, Fair Trade Tea, and Everyday Entrepreneurialism in Rural Darjeeling
Darjeeling Reconsidered

Debarati Sen

Oxford University Press

Based on more than a decade of ethnographic research in Darjeeling’s non-plantation tea producing areas, this chapter highlights the gendered effects of Fair Trade certification of organic non-plantation tea on rural tea cooperatives. Through a focus on rural women’s everyday entrepreneurialism and their run-ins with the transnational Fair Trade bureaucracy, the chapter underscores how Fair Trade interventions can inadvertently strengthen patriarchal/gendered power relations in Fair Trade certified tea cooperatives in Darjeeling. It highlights how women tea farmers also creatively use specific Fair Trade interventions to defend their own entrepreneurial priorities and rupture Fair Trade’s imbrications with local patriarchies. Women tea farmers creatively juxtapose Fair Trade and swaccha vyāpār, a local translation of Fair Trade, to defend their own entrepreneurial ambitions and enact new modalities of women’s collective self-governance. This chapter brings much needed attention to women’s contemporary economic lives and their role in tea production in non-plantation rural locations of Darjeeling.

Keywords:   Darjeeling’s women, Fair Trade, gender justice, entrepreneurialism, women tea farmers, tea cooperatives, organic tea

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