The Political Dynamics of Sustainable Coffee: Contested Value Regimes and the Transformation of Sustainability

Levy, D., Reinecke, J. and Manning (2016). The Political Dynamics of Sustainable Coffee: Contested Value Regimes and the Transformation of Sustainability. Journal of Management Studies, 53(3):364-401

38 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2016

See all articles by David L. Levy

David L. Levy

University of Massachusetts at Boston

Juliane Reinecke

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School

Stephan Manning

University of Sussex Business School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 4, 2016

Abstract

The global coffee sector has seen a transformation towards more ‘sustainable’ forms of production, and, simultaneously, the continued dominance of mainstream coffee firms and practices. We examine this paradox by conceptualizing the underlying process of political corporate social responsibility (PCSR) as a series of long-term, multi-dimensional interactions between civil society and corporate actors, drawing from the neo-Gramscian concepts of hegemony and passive revolution. A longitudinal study of the evolution of coffee sustainability standards suggests that PCSR can be understood as a process of challenging and defending value regimes, within which viable configurations of economic models, normative-cultural values, and governance structures are aligned and stabilized. Specifically, we show how dynamics of moves and accommodations between challengers and corporate actors shape the practice and meaning of ‘sustainable’ coffee. The results contribute to understanding the political dynamics of CSR as a dialectic process of ‘revolution/restoration’, or passive revolution, whereby value regimes assimilate and adapt to potentially disruptive challenges, transforming sustainability practices and discourse.

Keywords: coffee, Gramsci, passive revolution, political corporate social responsibility, sustainability, sustainability standards, value regimes

Suggested Citation

Levy, David L. and Reinecke, Juliane and Manning, Stephan, The Political Dynamics of Sustainable Coffee: Contested Value Regimes and the Transformation of Sustainability (April 4, 2016). Levy, D., Reinecke, J. and Manning (2016). The Political Dynamics of Sustainable Coffee: Contested Value Regimes and the Transformation of Sustainability. Journal of Management Studies, 53(3):364-401, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2761873

David L. Levy (Contact Author)

University of Massachusetts at Boston ( email )

Boston, MA 02125
United States

Juliane Reinecke

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Stephan Manning

University of Sussex Business School ( email )

Sussex House
Falmer
Brighton, Sussex BNI 9RH
United Kingdom

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