Advertisement

Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 337–350 | Cite as

Of couscous and occupation: a case study of women’s motivations to join and participate in Palestinian fair trade cooperatives

  • Jess Bonnan-White
  • Andrea Hightower
  • Ameena Issa
Article

Abstract

Economic opportunities and the status of women are mediated by socio-political structural factors, as well as cultural-specific norms and patterns of behavior. As consumers (and, in many cases, regulators) of resources at the household level, women are integral to the analysis of economic and political development. This paper examines the role of motivation and perception on women’s participation in Palestinian Fair Trade projects. In the occupied Palestinian Territories, Fair Trade projects have been recently introduced by both international agencies and local Palestinian associations as means through which women can earn income, participate in cooperative leadership, and engage at economic and political levels. Current scholarship largely focuses on measuring outcomes of Fair Trade initiatives or the experiences of members after the implementation of a project. However, there is less understanding about factors influencing the recruitment and retention of members into these initiatives. This ethnographic account explores both the motivations of members to join several couscous (maftoul) Fair Trade cooperatives and the members’ understanding Fair Trade goals and the cooperative structure. We examine four Palestinian women’s maftoul cooperatives and their unique challenges and opportunities. This project highlights the lack of detail most women have about the global Fair Trade market, which has a potential to result in decreased recruitment and retention rates. This paper also examines the tensions between product quality and market demands existing within couscous cooperatives and the competing demands of child-care needs, household pressures, and military restrictions on Palestinian movement enforced by the Israeli military within the occupied Palestinian Territories.

Keywords

Fair Trade Palestinian territories Women’s empowerment International development 

Abbreviations

ASAZ

Al Samaa’ Al Zarqaa’

ATAK

Al Tal Al Kabeer

BAC

Beit Al Couscous

BAM

Beit Al Maftoul

oPt

Occupied Palestinian territories

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank staff and coordinators of Fair Trade cooperatives and associations who were gracious enough to engage in conversations and provide insight at various stages in this project. We greatly appreciate Drs. Laurian Bowles, Melanie Hetzel-Riggin, Bridget Welch, and three anonymous reviewers whose comments strengthened this manuscript. Mention of colleagues, institutions, and organizations do not imply endorsement; opinions and statements made herein represent those of the authors only. This study was supported by a University Research Council Grant from Western Illinois University awarded to J. Bonnan-White.

References

  1. Abdulhadi, R. 1998. The Palestinian women’s autonomous movement: Emergence, dynamics, and challenges. Gender & Society 12(6): 649–673.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abu Nahleh, L. 2002. Employment: Contrasts between daughters and daughters-in-law. Review of Women’s Studies 1(1): 23–37.Google Scholar
  3. Allen, L. 2008. Getting by the occupation: How violence became normal during the second Palestinian Intifada. Cultural Anthropology 23(3): 453–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Arce, A. 2009. Living in times of solidarity: Fair trade and the fractured life worlds of Guatemalan coffee farmers. Journal of International Development 21: 1031–1041.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Arnould, E.J., A. Plastina, and D. Ball. 2009. Does Fair Trade deliver on its core value proposition? Effects on income, educational attainment, and health in three countries. Journal of Public Policy and Marketing 28(2): 186–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bacon, C.M., V.E. Mendez, M.E.F. Gomez, D. Stuart, and S.R.D. Flores. 2008. Are sustainable coffee certifications enough to secure farmer livelihoods? The Millenium development goals and Nicaragua’s fair trade cooperatives. Globalizations 5(2): 259–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barghouti, R. 2002. Between agency and necessity: Palestinian women peddlers in Al Hisba. Review of Women’s Studies 1: 38–59.Google Scholar
  8. Becchetti, L., and M. Constantino. 2006. The effects of fair trade on marginalized producers: An impact analysis on Kenyan farmers. ECINEQ Working Papers Series 41: 1–37.Google Scholar
  9. Cáceres, Z., A. Carimentrand, and J. Wilkinson. 2007. Fair Trade and quinoa from the southern Bolivian Altiplano. In Fair Trade: The challenges of transforming globalization, ed. L.T. Raynolds, D.L. Murray, and J. Wilkinson, 180–199. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Campbell, J. 2002. A critical appraisal of participatory models in development research. International Journal of Social Research Methodology 5(1): 19–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chambers, R. 1994. The origins and practice of participatory rural appraisal. World Development 22(7): 953–969.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cornwall, A., and K. Brock. 2005. What do buzzwords do for development policy? A critical look at “participation”, “empowerment”, and “poverty reduction”. Third World Quarterly 26(7): 1043–1060.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Debbouz, A., J.W. Dick, and B.J. Donnelly. 1994. Influence of raw material on couscous quality. Cereal Foods World 39(4): 231–236.Google Scholar
  14. Desai, M. 2010. Hope in hard times: Women’s empowerment and human development. United Nations Development Programme Human Development Reports 2010(14): 1–75.Google Scholar
  15. Doepke, M., and M. Tertilt. 2011. Does female empowerment promote economic development? Policy Research Working Paper (World Bank) 5714: 1–46.Google Scholar
  16. Dogra, N. 2011. The mixed metaphor of “third world woman”: Gendered representations by international development NGOs. Third World Quarterly 32(2): 333–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Eyben, R., N. Kabeer, and A. Cornwall. 2008. Conceptualizing empowerment and the implications for pro poor growth: A paper for the DAC poverty network. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.Google Scholar
  18. Fair Trade USA. n.d. What is fair trade? History. http://fairtradeusa.org/what-is-fair-trade/history. Accessed 30 Dec 2011.
  19. Fisher, E. 2009. Introduction: The policy trajectory of fair trade. Journal of International Development 21: 985–1003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fronk, C., R.L. Huntington, and B.A. Chadwick. 1999. Expectations for traditional family roles: Palestinian adolescents in the West Bank and Gaza. Sex Roles 41(9/10): 705–735.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Grandstaff, T.B., and S.W. Grandstaff. 1985. A conceptual basis for methodological development in rapid rural appraisal. In KKU, Proceedings of the 1985 international conference on rapid rural appraisal, 69–88. Khon Kaen, Thailand: University of Khon Kaen.Google Scholar
  22. Grigg, D. 1999. Food consumption in the Mediterranean region. Tijidschrift voor Economische en Social Geografie 90(4): 391–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Haj, S. 1992. Palestinian women and patriarchal relations. Signs 17(4): 761–778.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Haj-Yahia, M.M. 1998. Beliefs about wife beating among Palestinian women: The influence of their patriarchal ideology. Violence Against Women 4(5): 533–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Halabi, R. 1997. Stability in the Middle East through economic development: An analysis of the peace process, increased agricultural trade, joint ventures, and free trade agreements. Drake Journal of Agricultural Law 2: 275–296.Google Scholar
  26. Hill, M.T. 2003. Development as empowerment. Feminist Economics 9(2–3): 117–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hira, A., and J. Ferrie. 2006. Fair trade: three key challenges for reaching the mainstream. Journal of Business Ethics 63(2): 107–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Holt, M. 2003. Palestinian women, violence, and the peace process. Development in Practice 13(2/3): 223–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Huntington, R.L., C. Fronk, and B.A. Chadwick. 2001. Family roles of contemporary Palestinian women. Journal of Comparative Family Studies 32(1): 1–19.Google Scholar
  30. Hutchens, A. 2010. Empowering women through Fair Trade? Lessons from Asia. Third World Quarterly 31(3): 449–467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kabeer, N. 1999. Resources, agency, achievements: Reflections on the measurement of women’s empowerment. Development and Change 30: 435–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kabeer, N. 2008a. Gender, labor markets, and poverty: An overview. Poverty in Focus 13: 3–5.Google Scholar
  33. Kabeer, N. 2008b. Paid work, women’s empowerment, and gender justice. Pathways Brief 3. http://www.pathwaysofempowerment.org/PathwaysBrief_3_final_print.pdf. Accessed 27 Jun 2011.
  34. Kuttab, E. 2006. The paradox of women’s work: coping, crisis, and family survival. In Living Palestine, family survival, resistance, and mobility under occupation, ed. L. Taraki, 231–276. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Kuttab, E. 2007. Social and economic situation of Palestinian women, 2000–2006. Technical Paper 1, Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). http://www.peacewomen.org/portal_resources_resource.php?id=724. Accessed 11 Oct 2011.
  36. Kuttab, E. 2010. Empowerment as resistance: Conceptualizing Palestinian women’s empowerment. Development 53(2): 247–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Leurs, R. 1997. Reflections on rapid and participatory rural appraisal. Development in Practice 7(3): 290–293.Google Scholar
  38. Lev-Wiesel, R., A. Al-Krenawi, and M.A. Sehwail. 2007. Psychological symptomatology among Palestinian male and female adolescents living under political violence 2004–2005. Community Mental Health Journal 43(1): 49–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Low, W., and E. Davenport. 2005. Postcards from the edge: Maintaining the “alternative” character of fair trade. Sustainable Development 13: 143–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lyon, S. 2006. Evaluating fair trade consumption: Politics, defetishization and producer participation. International Journal of Consumer Studies 30(5): 452–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lyon, S. 2007a. Maya coffee farmers and Fair Trade: Assessing the benefits and limitations of alternative markets. Culture & Agriculture 29(2): 100–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lyon, S. 2007b. Fair trade coffee and human rights in Guatemala. Journal of Consumer Policy 30: 241–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lyon, S. 2008. We want to be equal to them: Fair-trade coffee certification and gender equity within organizations. Human Organization 67(3): 258–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lyon, S. 2011. Coffee and community: Maya farmers and fair-trade markets. Boulder: University Press of Colorado.Google Scholar
  45. Malhotra, A., and M. Mather. 1997. Do schooling and work empower women in developing countries? Gender and domestic decisions in Sri Lanka. Sociological Forum 12(4): 599–630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mehra, R. 1997. Women, empowerment, and economic development. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 554(1): 136–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Meneley, A. 2011. Blood, sweat, and tears in a bottle of Palestinian extra-virgin olive oil. Food, Culture, and Society 14(2): 275–292.Google Scholar
  48. Metcalfe, B.D. 2007. Gender and human resource management in the Middle East. International Journal of Human Resource Management 18(1): 54–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Moberg, M. 2005. Fair trade and eastern Caribbean banana farmers: Rhetoric and reality in the anti-globalization movement. Human Organization 64(1): 4–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Mohan, G., and K. Stokke. 2000. Participatory development and empowerment: The dangers of localism. Third World Quarterly 21(2): 247–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Murray, D.L., L.T. Raynolds, and P.L. Taylor. 2006. The future of fair trade coffee: Dilemmas facing Latin America’s small-scale producers. Development in Practice 16(2): 179–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Nasser, R., F. Barghouti, and J. Mousa. 2010. Feminist attitudes and praxis among Palestinian women activists. Feminist Formations 22(3): 146–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Olmsted, J.C. 2008. Post-Oslo Palestinian (un)employment: A gender, class, and age-cohort analysis. The Economics of Peace and Security Journal 3(2): 33–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Paul, E. 2005. Evaluating fair trade as a development project: Methodological considerations. Development in Practice 15(2): 134–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Peteet, J. 1997. Icons and militants: Mothering in the danger zone. Signs 23(1): 103–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Pirotte, G., G. Pleyers, and M. Poncelet. 2006. Fair-trade coffee in Nicaragua and Tanzania: A comparison. Development in Practice 16(5): 441–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Rabaia, Y., R. Giacaman, and V. Nguyen-Gillham. 2010. Violence and adolescent mental health in the occupied Palestinian territory: A contextual approach. Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health 22(3): 216S–221S.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Raynolds, L.T. 2000. Re-embedding global agriculture: The international organic and fair trade movements. Agriculture and Human Values 17: 297–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Raynolds, L.T. 2002. Consumer/producer links in fair trade coffee networks. Sociologica Ruralis 42(4): 404–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Raynolds, L.T., and M.A. Long. 2007. Fair/alternative trade: Historical and empirical dimensions. In Fair Trade: The challenges of transforming globalization, ed. L.T. Raynolds, D.L. Murray, and J. Wilkinson, 15–32. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  61. Rought-Brooks, H., S. Duaibis, and S. Hussein. 2010. Palestinian women: Caught in the cross fire between occupation and patriarchy. Feminist Formations 22(3): 124–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Sa’ar, A. 2006. Feminine strength: Reflections on power and gender in Israeli-Palestinian culture. Anthropological Quarterly 79(3): 397–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Shalhoub-Kevorkian, N. 2004. The hidden casualties of war: Palestinian women and the second Intifada. Indigenous Peoples’ Journal of Law, Culture & Resistance 1(1): 67–82.Google Scholar
  64. Shalhoub-Kevorkian, N. 2005. Voice therapy for women aligned with political prisoners: A case study of trauma among Palestinian women in the second Intifada. Social Service Review 79(2): 322–343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Sholkamy, H. 2010. Power, politics, and development in the Arab context: Or how can rearing chicks change patriarchy? Development 53(2): 254–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Shreck, A. 2005. Resistance, redistribution, and power in the fair trade banana initiative. Agriculture and Human Values 22(1): 17–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. United Nations. 2010. Protection of civilians, 1925 May 2010. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, occupied Palestinian territory. http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_protection_of_civilians_weekly_report_2010_5_27_english.pdf. Accessed 15 June 2011.
  68. United Nations. 2011. Protection of Civilians, 1824 May 2011. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, occupied Palestinian territory. http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_protection_of_civilians_weekly_report_2011_5_27_english.pdf. Accessed 15 Jun 2011.
  69. Vargas-Cetina, G. 2005. Anthropology and cooperatives: From the community paradigm to the ephemeral association in Chipas. Mexico. Critique of Anthropology 25(3): 229–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Vasquez-Leon, M. 2010. Free markets and fair trade, collective livelihood struggles, and the cooperative model: Two case studies from Paraguay. Latin American Perspectives 37(6): 53–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Wilkinson, J. 2007. Fair trade: Dynamic and dilemmas of a market oriented global social movement. Journal of Consumer Policy 30(3): 219–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jess Bonnan-White
    • 1
  • Andrea Hightower
    • 2
  • Ameena Issa
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Social and Behavioral SciencesThe Richard Stockton College of New JerseyPomonaUSA
  2. 2.Global ExchangeSan FranciscoUSA
  3. 3.Nablus, West BankIsrael

Personalised recommendations