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From blueberry cakes to labor strikes: Negotiating “legitimate labor” and “ethical food” in supply chains
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography.
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Demographic and Ageing Research (CEDAR).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8758-5704
2019 (English)In: Geoforum, ISSN 0016-7185, E-ISSN 1872-9398, no 105, p. 43-53Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Swedish wild-berry industry has become increasingly dependent on migrant workers. As the world market's demand for health and food ingredients increased, Swedish forest berries are exported to China to become nutraceutical products, while most berries consumed in Sweden now are imported cultivated berries. These changing geographies of production and consumption have resulted in a system of supply chains, that reproduce and manage difference between groups of workers and thus, make it difficult to safeguard labor rights. Moreover, this new“global standard” has great impacts on the cultural and political meanings of food. The aim of this paper is to study new emerging practices within the industry and to shed light on the production of representations of certain types of workers and work, and how this relate to supply chain capitalism. From the starting point of narratives collected within the different nodes of the supply chain, the paper focuses on the production, distribution and consumption of berry products as means to address how meanings of work and berries are negotiated. A specific focus is put on the narrated events during and after a strike where migrant workers tried to fight for better wages and living conditions. The workers not only lost the battle, but they were also expelled from Sweden without being paid. The work of the pickers and their agency is disconnected from discourses of labor and from Swedish laws and regulations, and the injustice is further justified and obscured through the lens of memories and nostalgia among Swedish consumers of berries.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2019. no 105, p. 43-53
Keywords [en]
Supply chains, Labor migration, Labor rights, Food (berries), Sweden
National Category
Human Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-163600DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2019.07.003ISI: 000483639700005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-163600DiVA, id: diva2:1355432
Part of project
Rural morality: meaning, mobilisation and citizenship in initiatives for a sustainable rural Swedish North., Swedish Research Council
Funder
Swedish Research CouncilAvailable from: 2019-09-28 Created: 2019-09-28 Last updated: 2019-10-02Bibliographically approved

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Eriksson, MadeleineTollefsen, AinaLundgren, Anna Sofia

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