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Narratives and Network Organization: A Comparison of Fair Trade Systems in Two Nations

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The narratives that flow through networks can shed light on their organization. This analysis looks at the elaboration of fair trade networks in the United States and the United Kingdom, with a focus on the narrative control exercised by key gatekeeping organizations. Structural properties of the 2 networks reflect differences in centralization as measured through distance, closeness, and betweenness in relations among organizations. The analysis suggests that once a dominant story or entrenched opposing stories become established in a network, structural dynamics involving narrative choices, conflicts, and strategies can lead comparable networks to diverge even as they espouse the same cause. These differences affect the capacities of networks to mobilize for various kinds of activities.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Communication, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98119, USA 2: Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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