Practising Empowerment in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Wine, Ethics and Development, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Practising Empowerment in Post-Apartheid South Africa

Wine, Ethics and Development, 1st Edition

By Agatha Herman


190 pages | 33 B/W Illus.

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Despite the promise and optimism surrounding the post-apartheid transition, South African society continues to be highly racialised in its discourses, identities and practices, even within the very strategies that aim to change power relations and heal racialised divisions. Renowned for its brutal past practices, the wine industry in South Africa has long been associated with white power and black exploitation, and remains dogged by continuing allegations of poor working conditions and labour abuses.

Through in-depth, longitudinal fieldwork, this book considers how different ethics interact and draws attention to the positive changes and continuing development challenges faced in South Africa. Situating practice at its heart, it brings a novel, everyday and micro-scale dimension to understandings of empowerment in the post-apartheid South African wine industry. It develops a critical analysis of the interplay between practice, as scaled and inherently spatial, and discourse to conceptualise how 'big' concepts such as empowerment are articulated, materialised and experienced at the ground level. Through this, it gives voices to the marginalised who experience 'empowerment', setting these within the context of their relations with the other stakeholders who shape this engagement. This book contributes to broader critical social science debates around ethical development and questions of power and empowerment in development interventions. This is critical to reducing the disconnection between policy aims and realities within development and empowerment initiatives, as well as enabling (ethical) commodities to be strategic in retaining their appeal throughout their networks.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: conceptualising power, practice and empowerment through South Africa

2. The South African Wine Industry: conflict and continuity

3. Local Practices of Empowerment in South Africa’s Wine Industry: difference and dilemmas

4. Practicing Empowerment as Development in South African Fairtrade

5. Strategic Practices: interactive relations and the role of the market in ethical trade

6. Whose Empowerment? Materiality and the Marginalised in the South African Wine Industry

7. Conclusions: practising empowerment and empowering practices in South Africa

8. References

About the Author

Agatha Herman is a Lecturer in Human Geography at Cardiff University, UK and holds a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship (2014-17). Her research interests focus on questions of ethics, justice and resilience within food production systems, particularly analysing their impact on the everyday spaces, practices and livelihoods of producers.

About the Series

Critical Food Studies

Critical Food Studies
The study of food has seldom been more pressing or prescient. From the intensifying globalization of food, a world-wide food crisis and the continuing inequalities of its production and consumption, to food's exploding media presence, and its growing re-connections to places and people through 'alternative food movements', this series promotes critical explorations of contemporary food cultures and politics. Building on previous but disparate scholarship, its overall aims are to develop innovative and theoretical lenses and empirical material in order to contribute to - but also begin to more fully delineate - the confines and confluences of an agenda of critical food research and writing. Of particular concern are original theoretical and empirical treatments of the materialisations of food politics, meanings and representations, the shifting political economies and ecologies of food production and consumption and the growing transgressions between alternative and corporatist food networks.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography