Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Creating Ethical Markets or Marketing Ethics? A Critical Exploration of Ethical Value Networks in Chilean and Peruvian Viticulture and Oenology

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Version 2 2023-09-22, 01:44
Version 1 2021-12-08, 01:37
posted on 2023-09-22, 01:44 authored by Williams, Peter

The global integration of agriculture has increasingly exposed rural groups in Latin America, and other regions of the Global South, to external economic forces. This integration, encouraged by neoliberal ideology, has in many ways exacerbated underdevelopment and peripherality of these regions. Small-scale farmers tend to disproportionately suffer from trade inequality and a range of negative social, economic, and environmental outcomes associated with the integration of agriculture. In response, consumers in the Global North have become more concerned about how food is being produced and to what standards, particularly when production takes place in the South. In part, this has driven the rise of what this research theorises as ethical value networks and linked product labels. Diverse networks and product labels based in social justice, sustainability, quality and origin have been promoted as alternative models to globalised agriculture. It is claimed that these alternative networks assist rural groups otherwise disadvantaged by neoliberal globalisation by facilitating access to higher-value ethical niche markets, while encouraging localised ethical forms of development.  This research critically explores two examples of ethical value networks in South American viticulture. It examines the use of fair trade certifications in Chilean wine and the protected designation of origin mark on pisco from Peru. This research emphasises the importance of local social, economic, and political contexts in the formation and outcomes of ethical value networks. It argues that despite the potential of the two studied networks to encourage local social and community development, entrenched socio-economic inequalities in Chile and Peru have hindered the expected positive outcomes of these ethical value networks. Moreover, this thesis argues that the studied networks have in many ways worsened local rural inequalities by supporting industrial and newer producers while excluding the most vulnerable actors in the wine and pisco sectors. Therefore, although this thesis illustrates the potential capacities of ethical value networks in fostering local development outcomes through product labelling, it also reveals the main limitations of these networks as currently implemented.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

CC BY 4.0

Degree Discipline

Development Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Alternative Language


Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Murray, Warwick; Rehner, Johannes