School of Global Studies

Fair Trade, Ethical Business (845L6)

Fair Trade, Ethical Business & New Moral Economies

Module 845L6

Module details for 2017/18.

30 credits

FHEQ Level 7 (Masters)

Module Outline

Where and under what conditions are our T-shirts produced? How does Fair Trade impact on the livelihoods of small farmers in the Global South? Is Corporate Social Responsibility just a marketing ploy? Has ethics become only a matter of personal consumption behaviour?

In recent years global movements such as fair trade and corporate social responsibility (CSR) have gained great attention as new ways of addressing the economic inequities and ethical imperatives of social improvement in our increasingly globalised world. At the same time key development actors, such as the UN and DFID, as well as global NGOs, have become increasingly interested in mobilising business as partners and harnessing the market in the service of development. These concerns have given rise to a variety of new ethical economic initiatives such as fair-trade, CSR and pro-poor enterprise which present alternatives to the mainstream market and attempt to shift the balance of power in favour of producers in the South.

Through an interdisciplinary approach this course explores the role of markets and business in development, from multinational corporations, to small enterprise, to those labouring in the informal economy. We explore the rise of corporate social responsibility, fair trade, civil society activism and ethical consumption practices as major new initiatives which attempt to make markets ethical, promote labour rights and offer market-based solutions to problems of poverty and under-development. The course investigates each of these initiatives from both a theoretical and empirical perspective, and critically considers their power, equality and gender implications.

Module learning outcomes

Show advanced knowledge of issues and concepts of morality, ethics and engagement in the global economy;

Show a critical grasp of advanced theories of moral economy, fair trade, ethical consumption and corporate citizenship;

Demonstrate an in-depth awareness of the variety of forms that ethics and engagment take in the context of the global economy through empirical literature;

Demonstrate the ability to evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of different forms of ethical engagement;

Demonstrate critical capacities in thinking about morality, ethics and engagement in the global economy.

Report (5000 words)End of Year Assessment Week 3 Wed 16:00100.00%

Submission deadlines may vary for different types of assignment/groups of students.


Coursework components (if listed) total 100% of the overall coursework weighting value.

TermMethodDurationWeek pattern
Spring SemesterSeminar3 hours111111111111

How to read the week pattern

The numbers indicate the weeks of the term and how many events take place each week.

Dr Dinah Rajak

Assess convenor, Convenor

Mrs Jayne Paulin

Assess convenor

Miss Emilia Roycroft

Assess convenor

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