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Differentiating Organics: The practices of tea and biscuits in the UK market

Abstract : When shopping for 'sustainable' products for their national habit of tea and biscuits, consumers in the UK can choose from a range of differently certified items and brands. This choice already illustrates a separation between conventional products and ‘sustainable’ products, which can be claimed to be a political action by the consumers. However, the question remains as to the different trajectories that bring those products to the UK supermarket shelves. For example, are all organics the same? While there are a large number of certification bodies around the world who are certifying against the EU organic regulation, when these products arrive in the UK, they often carry the Soil Association certification mark. In this paper we use the notion of ‘performativity’ to analyze how the practice of organic farming is at once similar and dissimilar based on the contexts in which a product is grown and traded. Here we utilize the notion of the standard as a market device to explore how organic tea grown in Tanzania and organic cereals grown in the UK are rendered ‘singular’ in the UK market, yet ‘multiple’ in the practices of production. We conclude that despite the use of standards as market devices to create a singular organic market, the practice of organic farming remains diverse. Thus, these cases illustrate Mol’s (2002) and Law’s (2008) arguments that reality, in this case organic farming, is ‘multiple’, despite attempts to singularize practices through standardization.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-02746233
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Submitted on : Wednesday, June 3, 2020 - 9:44:34 AM
Last modification on : Sunday, August 16, 2020 - 1:06:02 PM

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  • HAL Id : hal-02746233, version 1
  • PRODINRA : 270499

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Allison Marie Loconto, Maarten van Der Kamp. Differentiating Organics: The practices of tea and biscuits in the UK market. Joint 2011 Annual Meetings and Conference of the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society (AFHVS), Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS) and Society for Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (SAFN), University of Montana. USA., Jun 2011, Missoula, Montana, United States. ⟨hal-02746233⟩

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