Consuming lives, consuming landscapes: interpreting advertisements for Cafedirect coffees

Caroline Wright
Publication Date: 
This paper analyses newspaper advertising for the fairtrade coffee company Cafédirect, focusing particularly on the ways UK consumers are urged to transform unequal social relations with coffee producers through consumption.
The paper argues that whilst producers' lives are rendered ‘knowable’ to potential consumers, the reverse is not true. In addition, consumer gain is privileged over producer gain, with the commodity imbued with the ‘authentic’ lives and landscapes of coffee production. Thus, the ‘public face’ of development portrayed is that UK consumers can ‘make a difference’. However, attracting potential consumers may depend on representations which are embedded in unequal power relations.