Sustainable Resistance - Chocolate Makers in Trinidad and Tobago

My BA dissertation was probably the most fun I've had, ever. And people now bring me chocolate from all over the world, because apparently I'm an expert on chocolate? Just to set the record straight, while I LOVE CHOCOLATE, I'm not an expert, alas. Do feel free to continue sending me chocolate, though.

Sustainable resistance and structural inequality, though, is my thing. For a downloadable PDF of the entire research paper, click HERE.


Globalisation and its impacts have attracted interest from many disciplines in recent years. The modern world-system has been created over centuries of colonial trade, slavery and migration, creating core and peripheral nations. Powerful countries at the core are said to have started out during the 16th century, with higher capital investment capabilities which made them powerful negotiators, able to compel peripheral producer nations to unequal terms of trade which undermined third world industrial development and free trade. Development discourse, with origins in ethnocentric ideology, not only reproduces trade and development inequality in the modern day but affords excessive significance to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of development, with little emphasis on community or environmental sustainability factors or personal agency in peripheral nations. One co-operative group, the Alliance of Rural Communities of Trinidad and Tobago (ARCTT), may have an answer for entrepreneurs who choose not to compete in the world-trade system. The ARCTT is a group of farmers, chocolatiers and activists who use single-origin local cocoa to make fine quality bars for the local market in Trinidad and Tobago. This study documents the stories of the individuals behind this push for agency in Trinidad and Tobago with in depth narrative analysis, which reveals a passionate concern for individual agency, as well as an agenda for community, economic and environmental sustainability. Often, these concerns are not seen as significant factors to consider when creating trade and economic policy, but the data collected in this study suggests that issues of agency and sustainability should be taken as seriously as macro-economic outcomes such as GDP.