The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India
Nestled in the Himalayan foothills of Northeast India, Darjeeling is synonymous with some of the finest and most expensive tea in the world. It is also home to a violent movement for regional autonomy that, like the tea industry, dates back to the days of colonial rule.
In this nuanced ethnography, Sarah Besky narrates the lives of tea workers in Darjeeling. She explores how notions of fairness, value, and justice shifted with the rise of fair-trade practices and postcolonial separatist politics in the region. This is the first book to explore how fair-trade operates in the context of large-scale plantations.
Readers in a variety of disciplines—anthropology, sociology, geography, environmental studies, and food studies—will gain a critical perspective on how plantation life is changing as Darjeeling struggles to reinvent its signature commodity for twenty-first-century consumers. The Darjeeling Distinction challenges fair-trade policy and practice, exposing how trade initiatives often fail to consider the larger environmental, historical, and sociopolitical forces that shape the lives of the people they intended to support.
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activists agricultural Assam bisnis Board of India British chapter Chowrasta coffee colonial consumers consumption cultivation Darjeeling district Darjeeling plantations Darjeeling tea Darjeeling Tea Association Darjeeling tea plantations Darjeeling town Darjeeling’s describe Dooars economic environmental faciliti-haru factory Fair Trade USA fair-trade certification Fairtrade Labelling female tea fieldwork Geographical Indication Ghisingh GJMM global GNLF Gorkha Gorkhaland agitation Gorkhaland movement Gurung Himalayan houses Indian tea Indian Tea Association jeeling Joint Body kākā khukuri Kolkata Kopibari land Lepcha Madan Meghma moral economy Nepal tea Nepali laborers organic Photo by author plantation labor plantation owners plantation workers planters plants political rallies recruited region relationships rupees sardārs Sikkim Siliguri social Tamang taste Tea Board tea bushes tea buyers tea garden tea industry tea laborers Tea Management tea pluckers tea production tea workers tea’s terroir Third World agrarian tion tourists tripartite moral economy wage West Bengal Windsor women World agrarian imaginary