Voiceless but empowered farmers in corporate supply chains: contradictory imagery and instrumental approach to empowerment

McCarthy, L. and Touboulic, A. and Matthews, L. (2018) Voiceless but empowered farmers in corporate supply chains: contradictory imagery and instrumental approach to empowerment. Organization . ISSN 1350-5084

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Abstract

Recently there have been several calls for increased paradigm diversity in the field of sustainable supply chain management and for a shift of focus on the political and power-laden aspects of transitioning towards ecologically resilient and socially equitable global supply chains (Montabon et al., 2016; Matthews et al., 2016). This paper attempts to offer an empirically grounded response to these calls by examining issues of marginalisation and empowerment in global food supply chains from a critical realist stance. We seek to better understand the sustainability imaginary for smallholder farmers in the context of global supply chains and what this imaginary implies about underlying mechanisms of power and marginalisation. We adopt a multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to examine the sustainability imaginary for smallholder farmers constructed by one large organisation, Unilever, in a series of videos designed, created and disseminated by Unilever on their own YouTube channel. We expose the underlying mechanisms at different levels and in doing so we interrogate how the dominant imaginary limits what is viewed as permissible, desirable and possible in the context of sustainability in global food supply chains.

Keywords:Empowerment, Sustainability, Food supply chain
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N211 Strategic Management
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
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ID Code:31607
Deposited On:09 Apr 2018 15:32

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