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Global production networks, ethical campaigning, and the embeddedness of responsible governance

Authors
Publication Date
Keywords
  • Gf Human Ecology. Anthropogeography
  • Hj Public Finance
  • Hn Social History And Conditions. Social Problems. Social Reform
Disciplines
  • Philosophy

Abstract

This article presents a theoretically informed consideration of the role of ethical campaigning in shaping organizational practices of power and authority in global production networks (GPNs). It does so through a focus on responsibility, and the ways in which ethical consumption is challenging the organization of global networks of supply. The arguments draw upon and develop two geographical approaches to understanding transnational trade, namely the GPN framework and the study of commodity knowledge. First, understandings of ethical consumption and circuitous commodity knowledge are mobilized to capture the practices of knowledge translation through which ethics are woven into particular forms of supply network coordination. Second, through a comparative case study of UK and US corporate retailers’ ethical trading programmes, notions of embeddedness advanced by the GPN framework are used and further developed to illuminate how the mobilization of ethics into different forms of network coordination involves organizational processes influenced by spaces of retail and consumption. It is argued from this that the influences of retail and consumption should be more fully incorporated into analytical frameworks for understanding GPNs.

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