Freidberg S, 2004, "The ethical complex of corporate food power" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 22(4) 513 – 531
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The ethical complex of corporate food power
Received 13 September 2002; in revised form 7 August 2003
Abstract. In this paper I explore how nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and the popular media in Britain have been able to pressure Britain's top supermarkets to undertake 'ethical' reforms of their global supply chains. I argue that, although the 'ethical complex' of British supermarkets is the product of unique historical and geographic circumstances, it also testifies to the capacity of agro-food activists to amplify their influence through the popular media. More broadly, it complicates assumptions about the demise of the Habermasian 'public sphere' at a time when massive corporations control both the media and the food supply. Three case studies of NGO campaigns illustrate this point. At the same time, however, they point to tensions between the international scope of certain NGO campaigns for supermarket 'ethical reform' and the more localized concerns of their constituencies.
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