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Coffee by women: the 'duty of ethical enjoyment'
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå Centre for Gender Studies (UCGS).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0172-2609
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå Centre for Gender Studies (UCGS).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2098-871X
2019 (English)In: Cultural Studies, ISSN 0950-2386, E-ISSN 1466-4348, Vol. 33, no 5, p. 866-887Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article explores the contemporary trend of deploying feminist values in the case of ethical branding. Using the psychoanalytical concepts logics of fantasy and enjoyment, we analyse the campaign by Swedish coffee brand Zoégas, Coffee by Women, to understand how a combination of development discourse, ‘women’s empowerment’ and the opportunity to ‘do good’ is employed to sell coffee. The analysis shows that the campaign depicts the threat of a future lack of coffee, creating anxiety in the consumer, supposedly motivating her to purchase Zoégas, as Coffee by Women is claimed to secure and educate new generations of coffee farmers. Simultaneously, this is presented as ‘empowering women’ in the global South. We argue that this narrative builds on a colonial fantasy of global sisterhood and shared interests that works to conceal the political conflicts connected to global trade and climate change. Through a commodification of feminist values and aesthetics, this fantasy works to redirect the desire for social change towards consumption, offering an enjoyable solution that disregards any wider responsibility. It has been argued that the structure of the social bond before the era of mass consumption was characterized by a prohibition on individual enjoyment for the benefit of the common good. After the arrival of mass consumption, the social bond instead became marked by a duty to enjoy. In the contemporary context of ethical capitalism, we suggest that the social bond is rather structured by a ‘duty of ethical enjoyment’, containing elements of both prohibition and pleasure.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2019. Vol. 33, no 5, p. 866-887
Keywords [en]
Feminism, ethical consumption, women’s empowerment, advertising, fantasy, duty of ethical enjoyment
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
gender studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-152540DOI: 10.1080/09502386.2018.1510532ISI: 000478091200007Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85053057242OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-152540DiVA, id: diva2:1254897
Available from: 2018-10-10 Created: 2018-10-10 Last updated: 2023-03-24Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Feministiska fantasier: mellan marknad och feminism
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Feministiska fantasier: mellan marknad och feminism
2021 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Feminist fantasies : between market and feminism
Abstract [en]

Feminism is highly visible in contemporary Sweden. The government labels itself feminist, artists and influencers take a stand for feminism, businesses are branded with feminist advertising and feminist tropes and symbols are visible on clothes, art and jewellery. What this kind of feminism means is not always easy to discern. However, what is evident is that this visible and popular kind of feminism is highly compatible with business and market values. From this starting point, the aim of this dissertation is to explore the different meanings of feminism in four different but concurrent arenas. By using psychoanalytical discourse theory, I analyse: (i) a particular governmental arena through a policy analysis of the governmental articulation of social innovation, (ii) a commercial arena through a study of an advertising campaign, (iii) a business arena through interviews with feminist business owners and (iv) an activist arena through interviews with house-squatters. I use these analyses to explore how feminism is used, articulated and understood at the nexus of the market and feminism. What feminist discourses are articulated in the studied arenas? How are feminist values utilised? What expressions of social change are made intelligible and desirable? How are feminist subjects and the preconditions for feminist mobilisation shaped?

Analysing the results of the four studies together shows that a fantasy of the benevolent business is created and sustained. Such a fantasy enhances a logic of good-hearted and ethical capitalism within which business and entrepreneurship become understood as activism, articulated as the ultimate solution to social problems. Such a logic inevitably shapes the preconditions for feminist organisation and activism, and encourages individual solutions at the expense of collective efforts. The fantasy of the benevolent business is immersed in and reinforced by fantasy echoes of feminist and social democratic history. These fantasy echoes both conceal inherent conflicts and intensify the force of the fantasy. In order to sustain this fantasy, the desire to make a difference is directed towards ethical practices. These are articulated as individual practices, thus saturating feminism and social change with individualism. Hence, feminist subjects are shaped into individual and entrepreneurial subjects who desire ethical choices. Furthermore, the thesis shows how “the public” is structured as the guarantor of the fantasy of the good business, which entails that certain expectations are attached to the idea of the public. Such expectations shape how feminism and the work towards social change are organised and practised.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2021. p. 83
Keywords
popular feminism, post feminism, social innovation, feminist business, activism, discourse theory, psychoanalysis, fantasy, enjoyment, Sweden, populärfeminism, postfeminism, social innovation, feministiska företag, aktivism, diskursteori, psykoanalys, fantasi, njutning, Sverige, feminism
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
gender studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-178496 (URN)978-91-7855-451-5 (ISBN)978-91-7855-452-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2021-02-05, Hörsal A, Lindellhallen, Umeå, 13:00 (Swedish)
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Supervisors
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Uppgift om ISBN för digitalt format saknas i publikationen.

Available from: 2021-01-15 Created: 2021-01-12 Last updated: 2021-01-13Bibliographically approved

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Lauri, JohannaBäckström, Hanna

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