Social Capital and the U.S. Coffee Consumer
Smith, Eleanor Seidman
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What consciousness (awareness) do Northern Fair Trade coffee consumers have of Southern coffee producers and how do networks and social capital among consumers and Fair Trade promoters shape this consciousness? This study sought to answer these questions, based on a data analysis of semi-structured interviews of 20 coffee consumers, roasters, distributors, café owners, and baristas in Long Island, New York, augmented with documents from some key organizations in the Fair Trade (FT) coffee supply chain. This study is important because a conscious (aware) consumer of Fair Trade coffee products has the potential to make a substantial difference in the quality of life of the Global Southern coffee producer. Additionally, social capital concepts can help us better understand how this consciousness of FT coffee operates. Analyzing this data has shed light on the conscious coffee consumers' attitudes towards FT products, and FT coffee in Long Island specifically. Finally, this study has led me to a new and important research question that future research might address: how does the process of active participation in a FT-related social movement enable a coffee consumer to become more conscious of their connection to Global South's coffee producers? To explore this link further, an analysis of interviewees with a sample restricted to such movement participants -perhaps in a larger city - would be needed.
- Doctoral Dissertations