The Value of Genres for Uncovering Counter-Hegemonic Voices in North-South Relations: Social Representations of Artisans in a Burkinabe-Slovenian Fairtrade Partnership

  • Syntia Hasenöhrl University of Vienna


A critical approach to social representations is particularly relevant in North-South relations as hegemonic representations often reproduce their dominating structures. In this article, I explore potentials for challenging such power inequalities. I argue that the context of fairtrade partnerships can open a space for articulating counter-hegemonic representations of Southern actors. I investigate hegemonic and counter-hegemonic representations of artisans within a Burkinabe-Slovenian fairtrade partnership and trace different voices representing the artisans through an ethnographic approach that integrates diverse methodological genres. After mapping statements about the artisans by different actors in these genres, I analyse the artisans’ portrayal between hegemonic and counter-hegemonic representations with regard to the labour division, dependencies and valuation of their craft in the partnership. These findings suggest that even though actors in the fairtrade partnership reproduce hegemonic representations in some genres, they also challenge them and provide counter-hegemonic alternatives in others.

Author Biography

Syntia Hasenöhrl, University of Vienna

SYNTIA HASENÖHRL is a PhD candidate affiliated to the Department of Political Science and the research platform Mobile Cultures and Societies at the University of Vienna. She holds a MA in Human Geography – Global Studies (University of Tubingen) and a BA in African Development Studies in Geography (University of Bayreuth). The present article is based on her Master’s thesis which was recently granted the Sustainability Award by the University of Tubingen. Apart from social representations, her research interests revolve around discourse, mobility, and diaspora studies. In her current dissertation project, she explores political identifications of Malian-diasporic actors in their online communication.