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Ruben Quaas, Selling Coffee to Raise Awareness for Development Policy. The Emerging Fair Trade Market in Western Germany in the 1970s [Abstract]

With respect to the social embeddedness of a market, economic sociological research has suggested that every market actor is confronted with general coordination problems due to uncertainty about the value of a product, its potential success in a competitive market, and because of the several social risks associated with market exchange. The market of Fair Trade in the Federal Republic of Germany, emerging in the 1970s, was confronted with these problems in a particular way. The actors had certain, partially contrasting, aims which they tried to achieve. These aims affected the value ascribed to the products which helped Fair Trade to carve a niche, but, at the same time, also caused certain difficulties which conventional trade would not have had to deal with. This will be shown by the example of the first Fair Trade coffee. All in all, it becomes evident that the development of Fair Trade becomes comprehensible only with the analysis of its social embeddedness.