Linking power and inequality in global value chains

Juliane Lang, Stefano Ponte, Thando Vilakazi
DOI number
#Agriculture and food
#Sub-saharan Africa
#Environment and climate change
#Social and working conditions

Additional info: Published in Global Networks
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There is increasing interest in the study of globalization on whether the emergence and consolidation of global value chains (GVCs) have exacerbated inequalities within and across nations and/or how GVCs may be leveraged to mitigate them. Although power asymmetries have been identified as a central factor shaping (un)successful GVC participation, dominant discourses still disregard the links between power and inequality or use these concepts interchangeably. In this article, we provide an analytical approach to GVC-related inequalities (within, along and through value chains) and examine how they may co-evolve with different types of power (bargaining, demonstrative, institutional and constitutive). We apply this approach to the case study of the hake value chain in South Africa to illustrate how existing inequalities are manifested, challenged, mitigated or exacerbated—and draw an agenda for future research.


Stefano Ponte

Copenhagen Business School

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