Merging theories of performativity with Global Value Chains (GVC) analysis, I explore how standards are used within GVCs to govern interactions among actors and to perform a multiplicity of ‘sustainabilities.’ Specifically, this paper presents four case studies of certified tea production in Tanzania (i.e., the Ethical Tea Partnership, Fairtrade, Organic, and Rainforest Alliance) to reveal how visions of sustainability are enacted by different actors in each certified value chain. This analysis reveals that, while the Rainforest Alliance and Ethical Tea Partnership ‘sustainabilities’ are ‘generically’ performed,the Fairtrade andOrganic ‘sustainabilities’ are ‘effective’ in enacting multiple versions of sustainability that have facilitated changes to practices in the tea value chain. This attention to the enactment of values in the practice of agrifood production allows for a more nuanced understanding of governance in value chains and suggests a way to shift discussions of GVC governance away from the primary focus on ‘drivenness’.
Loconto, Allison. 2010. "Sustainably Performed: Reconciling Global Value Chain Governance and Performativity." Journal of Rural Social Sciences, 25(3): Article 10. Available at: https://egrove.olemiss.edu/jrss/vol25/iss3/10